Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan-Robin Maxwell

Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan

Robin Maxwell

Tor, Sep 18 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780765333582

In 1912 Jane Porter gives a presentation at the Chicago Public Library. After the not well received talk on the missing link, she meets wannabe writer Edgar Rice Burroughs. He admits to her that he has written some minor pulp fiction. In spite of his literary résumé, Jane agrees to tell him her story.

In 1905, the only female student female student in the Cambridge University medical program, Jane prefers cadavers to tea socials. Her dream is to be a paleoanthropologist and her long term goal is proving Charles Darwin is right. American Ral Conrath asks Jane and her father the scientist to join his expedition to West Africa to find the alleged white skinned ape. In the Gabon jungle, Jane realizes that the leader is an avaricious treasure hunter. When a leopard attacks Jane, the white skinned ape rescues her from the beast and helps her heal. He calls himself Tarzan.

Jane is a terrific retelling of the Edwardian Era classic with much of the changes occurring to the heroine and the Waziri. The storyline starts off slow as Jane is turned into a modern day feminist rather than a spirited Edwardian heroine; for instance her telling Burroughs personnel matters in her relationship with Tarzan seems doubtful as part of an otherwise deft metafiction premise. However, once she and Tarzan meet, the biographical thriller soars into a great rendition of The Woman Who Loved Tarzan.

Harriet Klausner


Ann Funk

Fithian Press/Daniel & Daniel Publishers, Sep 10 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9781564745330

In 1856 Thomas Austen, his wife Emma and their twelve year old daughter Sarah sail on the great Western steamer from Liverpool to Boston. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, their destination is to join other Mormons in the Great Salt Lake City area. After settling in their new home, Tomas informs his wife and daughter that he is marrying Rebecca Humphries. This upsets both females but especially Emma. Accompanied by Sarah, Emma leaves for Carson Valley.

In Genoa, Nevada Territory, they obtain household work for Saxon rancher Walther Rottenburg. At the same time, Giovanni Corveddu flees Sardinia after stealing to keep poor families from starving. He arrives in the Nevada Territory working for a mining firm. Over the next few years, Sarah provides medical help to people in the area even as the ranchers and miners fight over water. Walther and Gio admire brave Sarah and each wants to marry her, but she chooses neither preferring to attend medical school in San Francisco as she plans to practice medicine as a licensed physician in Nevada.

Lifeblood is an engaging Americana saga starring a wonderful heroine supported by the people she meets on her journey from an English tweener to a Nevada territory medical doctor. The leisurely paced plot enables the audience to feel we accompany intrepid Sarah as her helping others enables her to help herself achieve her goal. Ann Funk provides a vivid picture of two decades of life in Nevada.

Harriet Klausner

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