The Amazing Tale of Anna Himmel and the Gold Sovereign by Stevie Henden. Book review


Reviewed by Rex Sumner

The Story.
Martin is an unemployed banker who helps his relatives research his family tree.  Stories of a woman and a gold sovereign crop up, not just in his own family but also to those who impact on the family. Sub stories come up starting with the story of Anna Himmel who left Bavaria for America and ended up in London.  Hers is the main story, in fact, the others incidental to her.  She ends up befriending the prostitutes of Whitechapel and comes to the attention of Jack the Ripper.  What happens impacts down the years with the sub stories of her descendants and revolve around Martin.  It ends with an explanation of life after death and angels.  It is a little convoluted and hard to follow.

The Style.
Gay lifestyles and stories predominate throughout the book – many of the sub stories are about gay men.  There is no graphic sex described, but it comes close.  Only a few heterosexual men are described, and they are all inadequate or dismissed in one way or another.  The entire book is very positive in terms of emotion and all the characters try to be good people, with the odd sub-character an exception.  The effect is saccharine.  It needs more depth of emotion.  The author has a tendency to tell rather than show and the descriptive passages, of which there are a lot, are overly detailed in unimportant areas.  It is all very shallow.

Fine and believable, except a little obvious and similar.  Not enough variety, not enough differences.  Everyone is so nice to everyone else.  The few nasty people hardly say anything.

The author has been a little let down here, there are a couple of obvious typos, especially at the beginning, which are off putting. Grammar is fine, spelling is fine, not too many adverbs.

Who Should Read This?
I suspect that the LGBT community will really enjoy this book and so will readers of light romance.  It does not upset religious feelings, the angel aspect being non-denominational, but fantasy and scifi readers will find little here.  There is no horror either, despite Jack the Ripper and a nasty gay stud who gets a suitable comeuppance in a rather unbelievable manner.  It is a book far more about relationships, and if you enjoy discussing relationships in depth, you will probably enjoy this book.