The End of the Line. Jim Power.
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
This is a romance, but with so many more themes. The race one of course, but also the issue of the moneyed classes versus those with little, the background of slavery and the battle for human rights, even how people are treated too often by big businesses when they’re injured.
Its not a quick read novel, but one packed with content and odd moments of humour – the dates Latesha arranges for Peter – I loved those! The romance between them that ultimately develops is stuttering, pushed along by Peter despite her reluctance. Oddly to begin we see the race issue from the other side, with her father and the people where she lives, a black community, that have the hatred for Peter because he’s white. Later when his mother hears about them she shows the conventional viewpoint. I’m very anti all discrimination, and find it so odd that someone can be judged on colour, and yet despite the advances in law its still pervades from all sides. In this book though Jim uses the two young people to show how attitudes can change, slowly for some, quicker for others and sadly not at all for too many.
I did feel that some of it was a bit too slick, Peter’s mother for example. I felt she’d have held to her beliefs far longer, and Latesha’s father too. They were so entrenched, so irrational in their hatred of race, that it would take a lot to change their views. I loved the way the story showed how its not just a black v white issue, but that discrimination comes from everywhere, from all sides, and that often white people will help black and black help white simply because its the right thing to do. Even if that help may cost them their lives, and they don’t know the people they are helping.
Stories like that are historically correct, and we need to remember them, when we’re still faced with that awful, creeping, pervading issue of colour. Or any discrimination. As a child I was very dark skinned even though I’m English, and was teased often for my colour. Then with a name like I have now, I’ve seen it from those who assume my family are coloured. At five years old my eldest son who has dark toned skin like myself, lost a friend because the boy’s parents had seen him, learned the name and assumed we were foreign. Horrible thing to happen but its real, and people face it daily. This book shows it so true to life, and is heartening that it also shows hope, that there are people prepared to make changes.
Its an enjoyable read, not one I’d re read, but very realistic apart from the points I mentioned about the parents. I loved the way so many events were woven in, and became integral to the story, the background slave issue and the Door and it’s history, the ballerinas and their love for the tradition it had brought, Peter’s willingness to help for free, and the friends it gradually won round, the way the community slowly pulled together accepting him ( well most of them), Mr Thomas disability and wheelchair use ( I’m a wheelchair user ), the assumed snobbery of the Club when in fact they were very integrated. So much to like in here, but its more a look at life and romance than a heart stopping, furious love story. Its priced at £4.45 for 294 pages.
ARC supplied via author
Arc supplied by Netgalley.
Among all the high school/university romances around its good to find one about older people. Sometimes you’d think from what’s available that anyone over 25-30 isn’t interested in sex and love from the number of books around, ( and God help us poor over 50’s – we’re pretty clearly past it !!) Its one of the reasons I so loved the This Man series – its fantastic writing of course but Jesse is – gasp – 38!!!
So, the premise that Tyne had a sixteen year old son so thus was older, (hurrah) made this book a must read for me. I’m glad as it offers much more than just a quick hot romance, and covers all sorts of conventional stigmas, unmarried mothers, racial discrimination, and religious bigotry. Its not done in a preaching manner though, but one where its simply part of the story and everyday life. That’s how life is for most of us, not some sweet fluffy kittens and hearts rose tinted paradise but a real world where people can be cruel and vindictive.
Anyway – the people. Tyne is great, struggled to do the right thing, filled with guilt for her earlier feelings on finding herself pregnant as a teen she’s done her best to bring up Zach, but as teens are prone to, he gets into trouble one night when she’s at work and he’s supposed to be safe at home with her fiancé, Rob. Robs’ not really interested in Zach and has fallen asleep. She feels the best person to help Zach is his father Lucas, a Native Indian, but Lucas doesn’t know she had a child, never mind that its actually his. He takes the news well, and when the judge says he’s concerned that Zach was out alone and defacing property with a group of older kids, Lucas suggests he takes Zach and Tyne back to the village he grew up in to meet his relatives and other Native Indians for a month. Tyne hasn’t seen her family since Zach was born as they were not happy she was involved with Lucas, being very WASP snobbish type characters.
Zach’s a typical teen, grumpy and sullen and yet keen in intelligence and loves to learn. He’s fascinated by his history and gets on really well with his great uncle Jasper, the man who brought up Lucas. There’s so much to the story, from racism and bigotry, to the way we lose contact with out backgrounds and family sometimes without intending it. The whole story brings out so much from many of the characters, and we meet people that had long been in the background for Tyne and Lucas.
They were great characters, still had that spark that attracted them as teens, and it smouldered and fizzled into a blaze after a time. Jasper had a slew of interesting stories. Lucas’ mother and the problems of extreme Religious thinking made another fascinating aspect, and then of course there’s Tyne’s parents. Each character is carefully chosen and shaped to fit what becomes not just a story of reclaimed love but so much more, forgotten memories and tantalising futures.
I really enjoyed this book and would happily re read. Its not hot, erotic sex, but a love story that has some well written and hot sex scenes but as part of the story, not one of those where the sex is all the story 🙂
Stars: five, a great romance with an interesting and satisfying story.