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This Time Paperback – December 22, 2009
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist for General Fiction/Novel --2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
About the Author
Joan Szechtman came to writing and history by a rather circuitous route, after first focusing on her career in engineering and computer science. She then discovered the real Richard III, and researched primary and secondary sources on this fifteenth-century monarch and his era.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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The first part of the book held my interest and I couldn't put it down. The second part... after he left Katarina's, I got the feeling the author was putting in incidents to fill the time and space until the final scenes when they retrieve Edward.
There would be a LOT for someone from 5 centuries ago to absorb. Richard was very intelligent and I think he would realize he had to put his past behind him and adjust. But I agree with one of the other reviewers that he would have insisted on going to church regularly nor would he have let long-held religious beliefs go so easily. Also, as one of the upper nobility, he would have been constantly surrounded by people his whole life--no privacy whatsoever, day or night--between servants and family and petitioners and hangers-on. He might have felt frightened and vulnerable and strike out verbally. To have survived as he did, he'd have self-defense down to a fine art. Another thing: He had very real people skills, yet for so much of this book he's learning computer skills and researching the internet. I'd rather see him supervising underlings like grad students to do it for him. And he might unconsciously treat those around him like servants. "Noble blood" meant a lot in his day. He had it. Modern people didn't. And I also think he'd be very curious about the current British royal family. What's Queen Elizabeth II like? And Prince Philip? What about her children? He'd watch for them on TV, read articles, look at pictures... Maybe want to write her a letter? Go have tea with her?
Having read Clayton Spann's Roger Ward Trilogy, which begins with an historian traveling back in time to 1498 to try to find out what really happened to the Princes in the Tower, this novel struck my fancy as a sort of opposite turn - what happens when you bring Richard III *forward* in time to tell his own story? And this is exactly what Evan Hosgrove wants.
"This Time" is a light read but absorbing enough that I read it in 2 days and am now starting the sequel, "Loyalty Binds Me." There is history, romance, adventure, sci-fi, and mystery. Some parts of Richard's readjustment are laugh-out-loud funny (a catheter goes WHERE?) while others are heartbreaking. Richard's romance may seem rushed, but if too much space were spent on "taking it slow" people would have complained of boredom. The novel takes place over a year's time, and for me it seemed that Sarah's decision to get involved was more to be questioned than Richard's.
This is a fictional novel, not a history; therefore, I expected it to take dramatic license. Historians can overlook this if the book is entertaining. Is it possible that Richard might have reacted differently to being jerked from his own time than portrayed in this novel? Certainly. But there are many possibilities and I was satisfied with the ones the author chose. Even where I disagreed, the story was interesting enough to stay with.
One reaction that seemed quite realistic to me is that Richard (who is from pre-Reformation England) takes for granted that "the Church" is the Catholic Church and that its teachings still inform 21st century life. I did find it questionable that Richard did not miss the presence of the Church or daily Mass for months, but to say he had a lot on his plate is putting it mildly. From my own POV, I would have thought that in a world gone mad, Richard would have sought the counsel of his church. Yet no mention is made of religion until it becomes a plot point.
Some reviews complain that Richard seems to accept all the changes too quickly, to fit into the 21st century without looking back. I thought that once Richard recognized that he could never return to the 15th century, he determined to grab this century by the horns and that struck me as a realistic reaction for Richard. He *does* struggle with new ideas as well as new gadgets and more than once the book refers to him reading and researching. There are also times when Richard recognizes that he cannot control an event and tends to let things flow under his quiet but astute observation until he finds his feet - this also strikes me as the move of a wise man.
Overall, an entertaining read, but it could use more depth.
I look forward to reading "Loyalty Binds Me" and the last book in the trilogy when it is published.