This novel was a challenge in a way that I never would have expected. When I work on reviews, I usually look at what other people have said on Goodreads and Amazon. However, no one has evaluated this book, and this remains true to this very day. So enjoy the very first review of Richville, Another Tale of Travail and Treachery by Robert C. Jones.
Full disclosure: The author of the book that I am about to review is a patron at the library that I work at. All of the opinions stated in this review are solely mine.
For all of my book reviews up until this point, I read what other people have posted to gather up and solidify up what I think of them. However, this review will be unique since no other person has discussed the book Richville, Another Tale of Travail and Treachery by Robert C. Jones online. In other words, I will be the first to review this Hallmark-movie-for-older-people book.
The plot revolves around a group of people in the town of Richville as they try to find the culprit who has assaulted some of its members and has stolen valuable items, especially America’s first silver dollar coin and a teapot engraved by Paul Revere. This book is the second installment in a trilogy. The first book is titled Birth of a Tradition: Tales and Travails From Rural Richville. This is not the first time that I read the second novel in a series before the first (to be fair I had no idea that The Daughters of Ireland by Santa Montefiore was part of a trilogy until I did some research).
This is the best that I can summarize the story since the plot is slightly hard to follow, for it focuses more on the characters. However, I can easily look pass that because there are so many colorful characters. Most of the them are given a backstory even if they are not all that important to the story itself. Some of their backstories even take up an entire chapter.
The characters that stood out to me were Petey Snodgrass Jr, Malcomb Baldridge, and the members of Thank Goodness I’m Alive and Kicking Club. Petey is the main protagonist. He is a complete history nerd (shy and awkward in all) as well as the town scholar who believes that the past should be revered and that traditions should be maintained. Outside of those traits and beliefs, he is sort of bland and sometimes gets lost in the character shuffle. On the other hand, he was probably written that way to allow readers to put themselves into his shoes. In that sense, I can relate to Petey since I am a history nerd myself.
Malcomb is the 90-ish man who lives on the outskirts of the town and comes from a family that steals various valuable items. He stood out to me because after getting caught stealing and sent to jail for two years, he tries to redeem himself in the eyes of the community by returning some of the stolen goods. At the same time, he also wants to restore and renew the family’s reputation with his three great-granddaughters. Through all of this, Malcomb goes back and forth on the decisions he has made in the past, especially if he could have been the one to end that streak.
Then there are the members of the Thank Goodness I’m Alive and Kicking Club, who are essentially the seven dwarves from Snow White. Each are defined by a trait like one is grumpy, another one is romantic, and there is one who farts a lot. Yep, farting is a character trait in this book! To be fair, there are some people that I know who have uncontrollable gas, so it checks out. I like seeing these members interact with each other whenever they show up because I know that they are going to clash one way or another with hilarious results.
There are two reasons why I said the book was essentially a Hallmark movie for older people. One is that like many Hallmark movies, especially the holiday ones, the book contains lot of melodrama, favors idealism, and has a rose-tinted narrative. The latter two are exemplified by the novel’s love of anything pertaining to Richville’s past like the festival that has gone on for over fifty years. The other reason is that most of the older people (50 or older) are more traditional in their thinking, particularly when it comes to the past, and are do-gooders. Basically, they are the heroes. Even Petey, who is supposed to be 40, has a worldview similar to the elders of the town. On the other hand, most of the younger people are categorized as rambunctious, mischievous, and intending to do harm onto the community. In other words, they are the villains. This is especially true with Malcomb’s great-granddaughters, yet they do bicker amongst each other on how to get the information regarding certain objects. It always amuses me whenever the villains get into arguments with one another. However, Malcomb is in his 90s, and he is just as mischievous as his great-granddaughters. For the most part, the book idealizes old people and their values and stereotypes the young people as threats to said values.
Overall, I would recommend this book to older readers, especially those who value the preservation of the past. I feel that younger readers might not like the book as much because there is a lot of exposition, not a whole lot of action, and has portrayals of young characters in a mainly negative light. However, I will not discourage young people from reading it. Keep in mind that is the second book in a trilogy. I hope to see how the next book Richville: A Chance For Redemption In a Town Without Pity unfolds and to take a look at the first one to provide more context.
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