When A Conscience Knocks by James G. Skinner
‘A cleverly plotted historical novel populated with interesting, even charismatic, characters. The plot’s focus on Alzheimer is sympathetically written. Highly recommended.’ The Wishing ShelfAmazon USA
‘A cleverly plotted historical novel populated with interesting, even charismatic, characters. The plot’s focus on Alzheimer is sympathetically written. Highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf
I do enjoy a good historical novel. I like them well-paced, populated by strong, interesting characters, and, of course, it must have a twisting plot, a captivating setting and a killer of an ending. I’m delighted to say this novel by J G Skinner pretty much ticked every box.
The hero of the story, Jenny, is an interesting character, perfectly cast as a young English teacher trying to keep up with her Spanish diplomat husband. She’s pretty bright but she can also be a little indecisive. But that’s not surprising considering the complex (and often dangerous) world she now finds herself in. She’s also vulnerable – important with any hero – open-minded and up for facing a tough challenge.
For the most part, the writing style works well for this genre. It’s not Dickens; you never think, ‘WOW! That character just jumped off the page.’ But that’s okay. The author keeps the focus on the plot, keeps things moving and, most importantly, keeps surprising the reader whenever he can.
So, what didn’t I like? Well, not a lot to be honest. In parts, it did read a little like a history book. This author enjoys ‘facts’ and seems determined to educate the reader on the political happenings of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. I think the short, abrupt style of writing didn’t help; indeed, I often felt like I was reading the script for the News at Ten. But, in a way, that was okay. It was different in style; and ‘different’ is not always a bad thing. However, I did spot a large number of grammatical errors which is not okay. They need to be fixed.
I most also discuss Alzheimer’s Disease, which is a key theme in the second half of this story. You see, Juan Miguel, Jenny’s husband, is diagnosed with the disorder and they return to Spain. The author works hard to help the reader understand not only the nature of the disorder, but also how it impacts the sufferer and others.
All in all, this is a gripping novel which, I think, will be of interest to anybody interested in recent political history. Also, the Alzheimer theme, although written in a slightly too dry, detached sort of way, will be of interest to many readers. The short, concise writing style many not be for everybody, but I thought it refreshing, and I would happily read another of this author’s books.
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review