There comes a time in every avid reader’s life when they long for something more. I love re-reading my favorite novels, but I always want more details, more backstory, more epilogue, more EVERYTHING! The sad truth for classics lovers is that there will never be more. With the authors long passed, barring the miracle of some long lost manuscript being discovered, they will never publish again. No one can perfectly emulate the wit of Jane Austen or Charles Dickens, but I find some prequels, continuations, and alternate histories can (temporarily at least) scratch that itch. I’ll be the first to admit that some of them are terrible, you have to wonder how they ever made it between two covers. However, there are some that are perfect for a break between two more serious works. One writer that I have found who offers light, decently written and imaginative “literary fan fiction” novels, is Louis Bayard. I’ve read a few of his books and I liked them so much that I can’t wait for him to write another of the same style.
Have you ever wondered what happened to Tiny Tim AFTER one of the most famous endings in literary history? Well, in Mr. Timothy (9780060534226 – HarperCollins) we find out… at least one possibility anyway. I found this book to be pretty interesting and even funny in parts. This Victorian mystery/crime drama follows Tim in his adult life as an accountant and reading teacher. He now has only a slight limp, lives and works in a house of ill repute and helps an old man pull dead bodies out of the river as a side job. If you like fan fiction or continuation stories, this is a pretty imaginative one.
I read The Black Tower (9781616849481 – HarperCollins) simply because I liked the two previous Bayard books that I have read. He has a way of putting a huge twist, sometimes more than one, into the ending that you wouldn’t have guessed at in a million years. This book is no exception. The story is about the possibility that the son of Louis the 17th was switched out for another boy, the effort to prove this boy’s identity and finding a way to keep him alive. I won’t spoil it with the final twist, but it was so off the wall and something that I never even considered! There are some pretty tense moments in the last half of the story; I actually found myself holding my breath as I read. If you like historical intrigue, you’ll like this one.
The Pale Blue Eye (9780060733971- HarperCollins) took me several chapters to really get into it. I almost gave up on it and indeed let it lay for many weeks untouched before I decided that I just had to finish it. I have this thing about not leaving tasks uncompleted; it makes me crazy unless it’s really something VERY unpleasant (like reading A Lion Among Men). I am so glad that I pushed myself to finish this book, though! Once we reached the introduction of my favorite part of the book and to who I would argue is the main character, even though he’s not the narrator: a young Edgar Allen Poe! At the end, they explain that (of course) the parts about him are entirely made up, but it’s still exciting to see one author’s take on what his personality might have been like. I had one friend who always SWORE that she saw any twist in any book, movie, etc. coming from the very beginning. I assure you that if she said she’d known how this one was going to end from the beginning, she would have really been full of it! lol Just when you THINK you might have it, new evidence is presented to implicate someone else. In the end, the culprit is someone that you would NEVER suspect for reasons you would NEVER suspect them. All-in-all I really enjoyed this book and its historical setting!