Tuesday, October 10, 2017
The Pretender: a blackguard in disguise by Ta Mara Hanscom
According to author Ta Mara Hanscom there are two types of men - a knight, a person of highest moral character, and a blackguard, someone willing to trick and lie to get his way. A proper lady should avoid a blackguard at all costs. One would think that such definitions might lead into a fairytale, regency romance or perhaps a Gothic mystery, but Hanscom's story THE PRETENDER begins in 1975 South Dakota. Tillie, a high school senior, not yet eighteen, leaves her small town for an art show in Rapids City. The youngest in her close knit Italian family and the first to be born in the US, Tillie has been sheltered all her life. What causes her to trust a handsome twenty-something stranger she meets her first night away from home, even she can't explain. By the time her school trip comes to a close, Tillie is sure she is in love, and that Noah is a knight (see above definition). Still keeping his existence a secret, Tillie returns to Rapid City a few weeks later and witnesses something that shatters her heart and labels Noah a blackguard. Hanscom has peopled this novel with many characters, especially Tillie's large family which includes a brother and sister-in-law who work tirelessly to bring down members of the Mafia. Then there is is Noah's story, his relationship with his preacher brother and his old crowd of boozers. Noah and Tillie's story begins in this book but the full story of the families continue through another four books. This is NOT a typical romance, nor is it historical fiction. It is a story about family, disappointments, paths unseen and more. I got confused at times with the Mafia-hunting and continent jumping, found some "circumstances" unbelievable, but was at other times completely drawn in by the story telling. I received a copy of this title from Litfuse; all opinions are mine.