Full disclosure: The author of the book that I am about to review is a patron at a library that I work at. All of the opinions stated in this review are solely mine.
I’ve noticed that I’m the only person who has reviewed titles in the Richville series by Robert C. Jones. This includes the latest entry Richville: A Silver Lining in Richville-Hope Springs Eternal-Good Vs. Evil, the Struggles Continues and other ones in the future. So once again, get ready for the very first review of the 4th book in the Hallmark-movie-for-older-people series. In a nutshell, I like this one the best compared to the 2nd and 3rd ones.
Richville: A Silver Lining in Richville-Hope Springs Eternal-Good Vs. Evil, the Struggles Continues takes readers back to Richville (as they do) and its wide-ranging characters. With the teapot now found and preserved in the local museum, the cast is now on the lookout for the 1794 silver coin, but there are some outsiders who are looking for it too. Will any of them find it?
Like with the other two entries that I reviewed, the novel is more character-driven. It has two new characters – Reverend Huether and Sam Darling. The reverend is the minister at Richville’s Lutheran Church, and he mainly preaches from the Old Testament, specifically from the Book of Joel, to warn people of the darkness to come. He also expresses concern for the townsfolk, whom he thinks that they’re becoming more selfish and turning away from God. He especially despises Mandy Menage, who’s been teaching the members of the Effervescent Rose Society Chakra – a set of focus points used in ancient meditation practices in Hinduism. I like that he’s the counter narrative even though not many people agree with him. He doesn’t have much to do besides spewing his beliefs and getting involved with the coin at one point. I wish he was portrayed in a more positive light. Maybe he will be more developed in the future.
And then we have Sam Darling. Darling belongs to a numismatic society and a financing group both from Philadelphia. He’s basically the villain of this story. He’s after the coin by any means necessary, and he acts like he knows everything. He’s so evil that he uses rabbits in experiments to slow down the aging process. Obviously, people are suspicious of him, and SPOILERS: he gets caught.
What surprised me while reading this book is the development of some of the recurring characters like Dana McElvy and Malcolm’s great-granddaughters. Dana McElvy is so consumed with finding the coin that it’s taking a toll on her mental health. In the previous entries, she never did much because she was always moping and wanting someone to give her a sign. Here, readers see the harmful effects of her obsessing over the valuable item. She drinks herself to the point of passing out (something that Eleanor Oliphant can relate to). At the end, she decides to get her life back together by practicing Chakra principles. I look forward to seeing her get better.
Meanwhile, in previous titles, Malcolm’s great-granddaughters – Hope, Faith, and Destiny, were rambunctious and mischievous with no real distinct characteristics to tell them apart. In this novel, I could tell them apart. Hope is the leader of the group. Faith is the nice one, and Destiny is the impatient one. The leather-cladded trio are still devious as they’re still after the coin, but they all want to settle down, get married, and have kids. In other words, this task is their last hurrah as thieves. Also, one of their tactics to find the coin surprisingly helps them to save a life, and they kick some grade-A ass during the rescue.
The point that I made in the previous Richville book reviews still stands (the melodrama, idealism, and rose-colored narrative), but I wasn’t bothered by it as much, thus making this one the best in the series. This was mainly because there was much more character development than I expected. Also, unlike in the 3rd novel, it wasn’t mainly people moping and whining because they took action!
There are only three things that I have to complain about. The first is that there were some grammar issues like putting a period before the sentence is supposed to end and being verbose while talking about the Knudsons’ Swedish heritage. The second is that I finally realized that the author mainly knows how to write for an older person, but not so much for a younger one. This became apparent when one of Malcolm’s great-granddaughters first talks about wanting to settle down, and she mentions procreating. My mind went, “What kind of woman talks like that?”
Hope, Faith, and Destiny are supposed to be in the late 30s, and I’ve never heard any woman use that kind of wording. Now, you might say, “Well, the Amish or some other religious people might discuss it that way.”
That’s true, but these characters are not religious at all. That’s why I found it so jarring.
The third is the title. I’ve complained about vague ones in the past, but sometimes, they can be too verbose. It’s like the author threw some phrases together that could explain the essence of the story, but it’s all a bit too much. The title could have been something like Richville: A Silver Lining, and it would’ve been enough.
Overall, Richville: A Silver Lining in Richville-Hope Springs Eternal-Good Vs. Evil, the Struggles Continues by Robert C. Jones is the best book in the Richville series that I’ve read so far. It has different perspectives and more development in the recurring characters. If you’ve been following these book reviews, you’ll know who I will recommend this novel to. If there’s a fifth book, I’ll definitely look forward to it!
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