This Time

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in

Joan Szechtman, This Time. Bassett Books, Milford, CT, 2009.  ISBN-13: 978-0-9824493-0-1

In her “Novel About Richard III in This Time” Joan has given us a fast-paced story, which is highly readable and enjoyable, to the Ricardian as well as those without any prior knowledge.

Seconds from his death at Bosworth Richard is snatched from the battlefield and transported into the present (i.e. 2004).  We share Richard’s experiences in getting used to modern times and his thoughts.  As one would expect this time is completely bewildering for Richard, the things we take for granted – modern English, technology etc – are alien to him.  The reader experiences an element of suspense in Richard’s doubts of whom he can trust.  And while this Richard is still deeply affected by Anne’s death there is also hope and a new love.  In the process he has to deal with the anti-semitism which was prevalent in his day.  The ever-popular issue of what happened to his nephews, the princes in the Tower, is also dealt with, and a believable explanation given.

The reader identifies readily with this Richard and it should help to encourage many more people to question the conventional view of Richard as the monster.  If there is any criticism it would be that Joan’s Richard adepts too easily to all the new skills like driving a car and using a computer.  Having just experienced a year of supervising a learner driver, I can tell you it is not that easy.  I’m also trying to help seniors gain access to the internet, and the problems that need to be overcome are amazing.

In the picture on the front we are looking through a passage in a museum at a picture of Richard, which symbolises us looking back through the passage of time to the historical Richard, who is often portrayed as two dimensional as a picture.  However, in this novel we meet Richard being alive and a human being.

At the back of the book we learn that there are two more novels of Richard’s adventures in this time coming and I am certainly looking forward to them with anticipation.

If you are interested have a look at Joan’s own website.