The Canadians Were There Too

Period pieces are one of my favorite fiction genres, especially if they are generally historically and geographically accurate. Of course, I do actually expect all fiction to be geographically accurate if the author is going to use real locations, past or present. Popular for action pieces are any one of the war times of history and WWII is a top choice. It makes sense as it left a scar across the whole of the world and some would say that it changed the face of globe as well. Everything seemed to change during the war and maybe more so after it. The Old World was suddenly the supporting characters and new leading roles were assumed by the US and USSR.

Cover Art via Author Page

Whatever the reason, it is certain that period pieces of the ear are popular. Due to the popularity one can find all kinds of plots as well as quality of writing. From drama to action and everything in between to satisfy the desires of most readers. There might be some players of the period that are under portrayed. To that end, some authors are trying to increase the stories of these brave men and women and keep their memories alive. It is this goal that we have the pleasure of exploring today, with Vengeance Of The Allies.

I do have to admit that this is the first work that I remember reading that highlights the Canadian contribution to the cause. And while Canadians are certainly not the only countrymen that most don’t remember sacrificing , hopefully others will come or gain wider circulation in the future. I will neither affirm or dismiss the accuracy of some of the historical details of The Black Devils and will instead allow the author such credit as to his due diligence.

The story takes place in Occupied France, roughly 4 years in. The setting is mostly split between Marseille and Serronelle, in the South of France and unfolds from Berlin’s reaction to the murder of an SS Officer in the area. That leads to a chance opportunity for unlikely Allies to take things into their own hands. The obsession of these individuals change the course of the war and life for a group of unwitting Canadian commandos.

The action starts with the opening lines and continues to the last page. The reader is entwined into the unanswerable question what would you do if it were you? How far would you go to seek vengeance? What would you be willing to sacrifice for a promise made in the worst of circumstances?

For a debut novel, this work certainly shows skill and talent. There are some areas that word order made me stop and wonder if the proofing of my review copy was pre-final editing stage or have I never noticed Canadian word order being different. From a publishing point of view that is the strongest critique I have. I am pleasantly, surprised to see such quality work in a debut in today’s world of self-publishers and everyone thinking ANYONE can write and wanting their 15 minutes of fame and even more fortune.

I truly look forward to see more from Mr. Ethan Watts.

*Copy Received For Review.

Intellectual Prowess with Feminine Flair

While most of what I read is in the non-fiction section of the library…

I Love A Good Novel!

So, what makes a good novel for me? Honestly, it depends on my mood, but for sure the characters have to have depth and intelligence and the plot has to have enough challenges and interest too that I don’t already know the ending before the end of Chapter 1.

I must confess, also, that I really love having that in a series! And I like being a little late to the series party. Why, you might ask? Cause, I am a committed reader. Thus, if I get a hold of a really good book, I can finish it in a weekend (please read here, couple of days) if not a night!  Therefore, it is in my emotional reading interest that I have at least a couple, if not the whole series published first, so I do not have to feel let down to have to wait for the next one.

For any authors that might be reading this; do not take me wrong, I know that those of you, with a passion for your craft put a lot of time and effort into your finished works and that to publish high quality content takes time. And I do greatly appreciate the time that you take in creating such joy for the readers of the world!

Book cover of Stalking Jack The Ripper
Book Cover via LibraryThing

Another fact that I should state upfront, I do not believe in “age-appropriate” books! Do not get me wrong, I would not suggest the 50 Shades series to a 10 year old, but from what I have heard the writing of the story is sub-par, I do not know, I have never read any of it. I think I was turned off by the trending of it as “Mommy Porn”; what is that, even? Either it is porn or it isn’t. And if it was porn that made mainstream, good on it! But, I digress.

Back to our focus, I have read and continue to read many books and series that are labeled as Young Adult, such as the Harry Potter series and the Hunger Games series. So last year sometime, summer, I think, I discovered a series from  James Patterson Presents. The author is Kerri Maniscalco and the series is Stalking Jack The Ripper, also the title of the first book in the 4 book series. (I have bittersweet feelings about only 4 books in this series)

drawing of Audrey Rose Wadsworth
SJTR Character Card Teasers via author website

The main character is an intelligent, strong willed and minded, young lady from an affluent titled family in 19th century London, Audrey Rose. Maniscalco does a great job of not only weaving an intricate plot with twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and sometimes even second guessing their suspicions, but, also, providing great insight into the challenges of being an intellectual and a lady in Victorian England and the world for that matter then and now.

The plot stays mostly true to the known or accepted facts of the case, where Maniscalco shines is her filing in the blank spaces that have been supposed and hypothesized for decades. Her version of the unknown aspects of the most famous violent murderer of all-time is both plausible and captivating for the reader. There are plenty of secondary plots to give the whole world of Audrey Rose depth and substance, drawing the reader into the pages heart and soul. And after you get through all the meat of the story, Maniscalco presents extras including notes on the historic liberties she has taken in retelling the story as well as juicy tidbits that while mentioned in the story were not shared, like letters to main characters.

The whole package and delivery are just extraordinary and completely refreshing in this age of seemingly reused, recycled and reduced repeats of plots with shallow characters and poor editing. While self-publishing allows for some really good writers with some not so mainstream works to make it to the public, it has also created the illusion that anyone can be a best-selling author. And Kerri Maniscalco is the whole package of a best-selling author.