Elizabeth, William... and Me by S Lynn Scott
|Elizabeth, William... and Me by S Lynn Scott|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: The whole spectrum of emotions flow through this delight of a funny, clever bittersweetness and it all starts with Queen Elizabeth I emerging from the pantry and Shakespeare hiding in the bath.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: March 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
Ally is an ordinary woman with teenage children, a husband and a job. Then comes the day when ordinariness flies out of the window. It's not a coincidence that it's the same day she finds Queen Elizabeth I in the pantry and the Bard of Avon in her bath. What's she going to do? Well, Elizabeth and Will have their own ideas about that!
Author S Lynn Scott maintains that all a reader needs to know about a writer is there, in the pages of their books. So, adopting her own formula, what do we discover about Ms Scott? First of all she has a very keen sense of humour, a very keen observational eye and she's very clever, bringing the consequences of living history to a pantry and bathroom near us… well… nearish some of us in Leicester (to be precise).
Here, in a city that's become famous recently for historical characters emerging from odd places, Lynn takes suburban life, mixes it with Elizabethan normality and invites us to sit back to watch the results. All poor Ally can do is the equivalent of herding cats while trying appear as if nothing unusual is happening.
Liz and Will behave just as we'd expect. The monarch is somewhat resentful that a mere playwright is remembered as well as she is in the 2000s. Meanwhile William is just taken aback that his fame has lasted this long. Then come the demands as they each get over the shock and come to terms with 21st century life (or insist that 21st century life comes to terms with them).
The results of their replacement in time are as laugh-out-loud funny as the historic duo's reactions are fascinating. I particularly loved their outing to an am-dram version of Hamlet and the subsequent more culturally-modern expedition. (I won't spoil it but look out for the irony in the song title.) I'm guessing that, because Lynn is also a theatre director, there's a lot of insight and an in-joke or two to boot.
Lynn pulls off the impossible for most of the story, ensuring the adventure has the tingle of authenticity about it. I know – it's about two undead Elizabethans portal-ing centuries forward into the East Midlands and I'm mentioning authenticity? Trust me; it works.
Lynn's interpretation of Elizabeth and William along with their responses and expectations exhibits Lynn's grasp of history which, in turn, provides that dusting of reality.
The only miniscule microbe in the otherwise perfect ointment is that Ally's attempts to get Elizabeth I in to see Elizabeth II may teeter on the OTT at times. However at this point we're well attached and egging them on so it's easy to suspend disbelief with a giggle while enjoying the ride.
Our minds start whizzing towards possible explanations when we realise only random people can see our time-slipped visitors. I went for three different options and was totally wrong, the reason finally arriving and ripping through me from left field.
Yes, this is an author who can turn our feelings on a sixpence… errr… 5p… before leaving us with three things: a smile, a feeling that all will be well and the knowledge that this novel is populated by characters to whom we want to return.
(Our usual huge thanks to Matador for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: If you enjoy books such as this centring on comedic mayhem, we also urge you towards Our Tiny, Useless Hearts by Toni Jordan or The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. More drawn to the time slip elements? We recommend the modern time slip classic A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and/or the gentle rural tones of Ferney by James Long. If you prefer your time slip sci-fi dark and violent, then get thee to Mark Morris' The Obsidian Heart Trilogy.
You can read more book reviews or buy Elizabeth, William... and Me by S Lynn Scott at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Elizabeth, William... and Me by S Lynn Scott at Amazon.com.
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