Tag Archives: Julian

Book Review: Silverview by John Le Carré


Author: John Le Carré

Publisher: Viking

American release date: October 12, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/224 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Julian has left life in the big city to run his own bookshop in a small English seaside town. After a chance visit from a local resident, Edward Avon, aka Teddy, he learns that Avon was a friend of his father and had worked with him at one time. Edward is a very agreeable fellow and is delighted to share his ideas with the younger man, including plans for a sort of literary paradise to be located in the basement of the shop. And thus the idea for the Republic of Literature is born.

Unsure of just how to take Edward, Julian questions another shopkeeper, Celia, who is very fond of Edward, and gives him a great deal of information. Edward’s wife is very ill, and she and Teddy aren’t on the best of terms. Her late father bequeathed her a great deal of money, as well as the house now known as Silverview. Teddy changed the name after he became fascinated by Nietzsche. The couple have a daughter named Lily.

Stewart Proctor receives a letter from the daughter of one of his agents. The information it contains is very disturbing, and so he begins his own investigation to check into the accusations contained therein. In the meantime, Teddy has graciously installed computers in the future Republic and has begun to search for just the right books they will need to fill its shelves when the time comes.

Proctor uses the cover story of using retired agents as potential training instructors for future hires to questions them on various subjects. In particular, a spy whose code name was Florian, who was active during the Bosnian crisis and who was deeply affected by events that happened then.

The more Julian learns about Edward, the less he knows. He meets his dying wife Deborah, herself once an agent, and their daughter Lily. There is some sort of spark between him and Lily… maybe.  But as events begin to unfold, Julian finds himself in the middle of something he never dreamed he’d ever be a part of.

John Le Carre’s SIlverview is like a tapestry. It starts out with a number of loose threads, but as you keep reading the threads begin to wind themselves about one another until they form a picture. It’s a fascinating story about spies as people, and some of the aftermath of their experiences and how those affect them.  I like Julian and found him an astute and sympathetic observer, but the true star of this book is Edward, aka “Teddy”, aka Florian. A very likeable and complex man whose life of professional deception has carried over into his actual personal life, to the point where it’s hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins. Is he who he seems to be? Was he ever?

If the ending isn’t quite as clear-cut as one might like, well, that’s life. It’s clear enough to those who are left behind. After all, life doesn’t always wrap up nicely and neatly, much as we wish it might. But we have a clear idea of what lies ahead for the characters we’ve come to care about. Can one ask for anything more?

John Le Carre is truly the master of spy fiction, and I think his final work is a testament to his craft and well worth reading.

Book Review: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys       

Author: Aiden Thomas

Publisher: Swoon Reads

American release date:  September 1, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/YA LGBT Romance/352 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

All his life, Yadriel has yearned to be recognized for what he is—a brujo. His family has been brujx for generations, practitioners of magic, able to commune with the dead and help ease them into the next life. But his family doesn’t see him that way, and he has been denied his quinces, essential to his recognition as a brujo. Much of the time, they don’t see him as a boy, either, which is frustrating. Yadriel is transgender, and he only wishes to be accepted for who he is. Is that so much to ask?

His best friend, Maritza, fashions him his own blade—a portaje. This is his conduit to the world of magic. Maritza has one of her own, in the form of a rosary. Denied his rite of passage by his family, he and Maritza decide to hold one of their own, in the old church in the cemetery where Yadriel’s family live.

The ceremony is successful but something decidedly unexpected occurs—one of their own, his cousin Miguel, has died, and all the brujx can feel it. But no one can find his body, which is troubling in and of itself. Yadriel returns home to see what is happening and learns of the search for Miguel. He wishes to accompany the other brujos but his request is denied by his father. If only his mother were here. She understood Yadriel and accepted him for who he is, without question or reservation.

Yadriel and Maritza decide to search for Miguel on their own. And that is when the next strange occurrence happens, in the form of an unexpected spirit by the name of Julian. Loud, unruly, and energetic, Julian is a force to be reckoned with. And he is about to turn Yadriel’s world upside down.

This book is a treasure!  A fascinating glimpse, not only into the world of brujx and Dio de los Muertos, but also transgendered teens as well. There aren’t many books with transgendered protagonists. Yadriel is wonderful as he tries to navigate the hazards of living among people who don’t understand and can’t see him for who he is. It must be hard when your own family denies you, and because of that you can’t even participate in the same rituals the others do. Yadriel’s own uncle, Catriz, is left out of things as well, not having enough spirituality, apparently, to be considered one of them. Together, uncle and nephew are the family outcasts, the black sheep.

Yadriel’s best friend Maritza is spunky and spirited, and understand Yads, as she calls him, better than anyone. She makes him a portaje, forges it herself despite not being encouraged to do such things because of her gender. But the one who steals the show starting from his first appearance is Julian Diaz, aka the ghost with the most. He is difficult at times and extremely stubborn, but there is just something about him that Yadriel can’t resist. Plus Julian accepts Yadriel immediately, no questions asked.

If Yadriel can release Julian’s spirit, he can prove to his family that he is indeed a brujo. But before Julian agrees to this, he has conditions of his own that Yadriel has to meet. Carrying these out won’t be easy.

This book is full of fun and flavor and wonderful characters. It made me laugh and it definitely made me cry. It was recommended to me by my daughter and I was so happy she did. I got it from the library, but I ordered my own copy now, to add to my library. I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s a supernatural story, it’s a romance, it’s a mystery, it’s a coming-of-age story, but most of all it’s a book about people just trying to live their lives.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read.