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Illustrated Dodge a Twist and a Tobacconist (The Illustrated Alexander Legacy Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
In this novel, we see Rose and the Campbell Clan, Oliver Twist, Mowgli and Baghee, and many others. Set in Victorian-era, reflecting the classics, Sophronia Lyon's choice of characters is flawless. Anyone reading this London "crime drama" will discover there is much more than the crime afoot in superb work. Once you begin this unique journey you'll discover the novel begging you to do nothing until you've completed this masterful work. All I can say is ENJOY!
Always writing about choices and how God can help us change, Paula Rose Michelson wrote the Amazon Best Selling Christian self-help book "How Did We Become Angry?" That book and her three sweet Christian fictions with a Messianic twist and a hint of history: "Beginning Anew: The Naomi Chronicles" and "Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Books One and Two", are available on Amazon.
Then I ran up against something that left me astounded. One of the characters mentioned God. That doesn't happen in Steampunk, or in much other fiction these days. Neither independent nor 'publishing house' authors include many references to religion, unless it's Wiccan or some other form of paganism in paranormal books about witches-- mainstream religions are verboten.
In Steampunk, that's simply wrong. One of the hallmarks of Victorian England was its religiosity; the Church of England, with its Evangelical, 'Broad Church', and Anglo-Catholic branches was endemic in British culture throughout the 19th Century. Missionaries were sent around the Empire and the globe, with funds being raised for them at home. The fight against the slave trade was primarily carried on by men and women guided by their faith, as was the support of the working classes at home. Biology, and especially botany, was dominated by Church of England clerics. To try to write Victorian Steampunk without Victorian religion is to deny an essential part of Victorian culture.
Thus, I had great hopes for this book. Except that Sophronia Belle Lyon (the perfect name for a Steampunk author!) superimposed too much of her own manner of expressing her faith on her characters-- and her manner is that of a late 20th / early 21st Century Evangelical Christian, and so it didn't ring true for the era. Further, her main character is a prince of Bohemia... and Bohemia has been Roman Catholic from the mid-1600s until the present day, which certainly was not reflected in the character's description. All the main characters shared the same form of Christianity, with no differences between Catholics, Anglicans, Non-Conformists and Presbyterians-- differences which would have been as great or greater in the 19th Century as they are in the modern era.
In Victorian England, her protagonists would have put less emphasis on converting, and more on overcoming, their enemies (or Victoria wouldn't have had an Empire!), and they would have attended Church of England services weekly-- but her characters, including the "reverend", never darken an Anglican church door. Had they been Non-Conformists, they would have gone twice-weekly to Chapel (Non-Conformists were what in the States we call Methodists)-- if they were Scots, they might have been Presbyterians, and gone to the Kirk while in Scotland, and to Chapel while in England. Victorian religion was communal-- people worshipped together, rather than keeping their faiths private between them and their God. [Roman Catholics had a more difficult time of it, since the Roman Catholic Church was still proscribed, and Baptists, etc. barely existed-- Victorians did not believe in freedom of religion, and senior Anglican Bishops voted in the House of Lords, ensuring the a Established Church's centrality in England.]
I am afraid that Ms. Lyon wasn't writing a book which included Victorian Christianity (as I wish more did, for verisimilitude's sake), but rather writing one which included her own-- certainly her right, and more accurate to the period than the myriad authors who ignore religion altogether, but still a disappointment. I had high hopes, going in-- a good plot, interesting characters, much better written than many... but the religious aspects, initially feeling appropriate to the era, began to seem too modern, too evangelical (vice Evangelical, a legitimate branch of the Church of England), and too personal to the author. They also seemed to become more and more dominant as the book went on. I understand that she considers herself a 'Christian author', vice an author who writes about Christians. With that caveat, the book is certainly worth reading.
Still, I hope someday to find a Steampunk novelist who includes the characters' Christian faith as an aspect of what it means to be Victorian and English-- just as necessary, and no more outré, as men wearing hats!
What if the characters from your favorite Victorian-era classics crossed paths with one another? What if the heroes from those books had to work together to defeat a singular villain from one of those books?
Such is the case with "A Dodge, A Twist, and A Tobacconist." Sophronia Lyon cleverly matches characters from the works of Dickens, Stevenson, Kipling, and even Alcott, all in the setting of a London "crime drama" that will have the reader guessing from the very start. Combined with a well-placed "steampunk" vibe, Sophronia maintains the integrity of these well-loved authors, while remixing them into an entirely new adventure in the high-action, well-developed style of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." She not only adopts the style of the authors, but continues their "legacy" of social and moral values. The issues raised in this adventure are treated with the same conviction as the ones who personally witnessed the corruption and wrote about it.
I adored the old books, and reading this one was like a reunion of them all. The original authors would be proud to see their characters treated with such tactful respect, in a novel that also deals with the same social evils the authors themselves tried to speak against.
Sophronia has begun excellently, and I look forward to a continuation of the series!
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