Sunday, 18 October 2015

Review: The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer

An English teen questions all she knows about aging when she encounters a set of journals that date from the present back to the reign of King Louis XIV in this blend of contemporary and historical fiction from the author of the acclaimed Gideon trilogy.

Stella Park (Spark for short) has found summer work cataloging historical archives in John Stone’s remote and beautiful house in Suffolk, England. She wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and her uncertainty about living at Stowney House only increases upon arriving: what kind of people live in the twenty-first century without using electricity, telephones, or even a washing machine? Additionally, the notebooks she’s organizing span centuries—they begin in the court of Louis XIV in Versailles—but are written in the same hand. Something strange is going on for sure, and Spark’s questions are piling up. Who exactly is John Stone? What connection does he have to these notebooks? And more importantly, why did he hire her in the first place?

Hardcover, 544 pages
Expected publication: October 20th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Terri's Thoughts

** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The Expected publication date is October 20th**

I am really struggling with how to pen my thoughts on this story.  It really is not like any others I have read and I have read a lot of books.  It is a melting pot of genres which in my mind is really kind of cool.  It is part historical fictions which we all know is my most favored genres, then we also have a YA element (although not a short light read) and part fantasy or paranormal or I am not so sure what to label it.

There really are no mysteries to solve in this story as the synopsis suggests.  As the reader you know exactly what is going on and any questions are easily guessed or answered right away.  Also some advice for those who wish to read this story.  Be patient with it at first.  It started a little slow and I questioned my decision to take on this story.  It picks up speed and you are rewarded if you stick with it.

Given that the book synopsis does not give much of the story away, I feel I cannot as well.  To discuss some of the plot and storyline would be to give spoilers which I do not do.  Instead I will leave these parting thoughts

  • This is a story that people are either going to love or hate.  I don't see many people falling in the middle
  • The historical fiction aspect was my favorite part and what made the story rewarding for me
  • Although I say this is a YA read, it is not a light and fluffy story.  I would only recommend it to YA readers who are serious about their books and enjoy a bit of history
  • For everyone else I recommend

About the Author

Linda Buckley-Archer is a London-based writer. Originally trained as a linguist and subsequently a scriptwriter, she became a novelist after writing a story for her son, who was a reluctant reader. That story became the first volume of the time-traveling GIDEON TRILOGY, which featured the dark side of 18th-century London as well as the French and American Revolutions. The trilogy was translated into ten languages.


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