Sunday, August 16, 2015

Edi's Spotlight: 1884 No Boundaries by A. E. Wasserman

Dear Readers,

I subscribed a daily newsletter from Historicalnovelsociety

Historical Fiction Daily A web magazine of the Historical Novel Society

There was a link to the review of following book in one of the recent issues of the magazine.
1884 No Boundaries (digital, 29th April 2015 [Kindle ASIN: B00NS53SX0] by A. E. Wasserman

The review ended with "Very strongly recommended for fans of the period."

Indeed I'm addicted to this period.
The mentioned review and the book description convinced me to buy a digital copy.
I threw my books to read list overboard and dived immediately back into the year 1884.
Now I'm back and want to share my thought about this book with you.

Here we go.

1884 No Boundaries
(digital, 29th April 2015 [Kindle ASIN: B00NS53SX0]
by A. E. Wasserman

"Love, murder, sex, and terrorism swirl within a collapsed world economy.

No, it’s not today.

It’s London, 1884.

Recently married LANGSFORD, born of wealth and privilege, is bound by the restrictions of Victorian society. Dynamite has been invented, but the term “homosexuality” has not and men can be arrested for either.

Langsford accompanies his visiting friend, HEINRICH, eighteen, who innocently flirts with young ANNA at London’s Leadenhall Market.

What should be the end of the story becomes the beginning, for Heinrich falls in love with her, never part of the plan. Instead it becomes the catalyst for everything that follows when he flees Germany to return to her. Events unfold that expose terrorists, espionage and international intrigue.

Langsford walks a fine line as he crosses boundaries he never imagined, rubbing elbows with spies, killers and would-be assassins to save his friend, stop an assassination, and prevent a war." [Source]

The 323 pages of the book are divided into four named parts which are subdivided into 70 consecutively numbered chapters. The four parts are enveloped by an epilogue and background information. The story is told from third person point-of-view.

With such an excellent book description it is not necessary to repeat it with my own words. But is important to talk about characters.The three main characters have been introduced in the description.

LANGSFORD is a Lord and his first name is not mentioned once in the whole book. He spent time in school with HEINRICH who is the the second son of the patriarch and German Reichsgraf (Count of the Empire)  Dieffenbacher. While in England a lot of people call him Henry instead of Heinrich.
Finally there is young ANNA Boardman who is working as a shop girl. Her parents died of typhoid when she was a child  The parents of her childhood friend Charlotte whose aunt and uncle had taken her after the sad event.

Beside that a lot more people come into play. Their descriptions vary on their importance for the story. None of these characters appear one dimensional. Furthermore they all use language in a style that fits perfectly to their social rank. Combined with the detailed description of clothing, habits and actions it is one of the ingredients which make  it one of the ingredients which let 1884 No Boundaries shine as a star in the historical fiction heaven.

Language is really important and I admired that part of the books are presented bilingual which means English AND German. It makes really sense as one of the main characters is German and part of the story takes place in Prussia and other parts of Germany.
As a reader with English as first language you do not need to worry. Every word has been translated.
My first language is German and I can assure your that the use of German language has been done without faults. That is not a matter of course which I know from other books.

The depiction of the scenery and locations from a pub in London over the different cabins in German trains to a hamlet in Prussia is excellent and it is the perfect "drug" to blossom the world of  1884 No Boundaries in your imagination.

Are there boundaries for love? The answer is stated in the title:  1884 No Boundaries
And this answer is also valid for the areas stated in the sub title: A STORY OF ESPIONAGE, AND INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE

It is Heinrich Dieffenbacher who set the story in motion with his crossing of social etiquette. It was outrageous in Victorian Era to talk to a woman about love without knowing her and without following the rules of courtship. It was a scandal to do that as an aristocrat and furthermore to disobey the social rank!
at this point the story could have ended as one of the many social dramas. But that was not the intention of the author. Remember the title:    1884 No Boundaries

It is this disobeying of social boundaries which is the read thread, the leading theme of the whole book. You would not believe me if I would enumerate all the boundaries which have been crossed until the end of 1884 No Boundaries.
I admit that Heinrich Dieffenbacher has an exquisite talent to be at the wrong place, to be at the wrong time and taking the wrong action.
What do you expect from a young man in love, with a determined future in front and who is wholehearted and cooperative? A young man who has just one aim - to marry the woman he loves.

Fortunately is such a lovable character who can count on his friends and especially on Lord Langsford. Langsford appreciate Heinrich a lot and he supports him with all his power, influence and intelligence from the bottom of his heart.

It is Heinrich's talent to be at the wrong place that set another story into motion which involves terrorism, colonial policy, social unrest and creation of political awareness.
The criss crossing of the different story lines drive the plot along and culminates in explosions on several levels physically and emotionally.

So far we have a fantastic story set in the year 1884  which demonstrate what it meant and would could happen if you crossed boundaries on every level in life.

But that is not all. It is unavoidable and a must to talk to talk about two pages with the heading
BACKGROUND: 1884 NO Boundaries
Let me quote a few but impressive words:
"The history is real - [...]. Many people of the people in the tale are also real. [...] Henry and Anna are based on real individuals [...]"
Beside that several events did really take part like the Congo Conference in Berlin 1884-85. Not to forget the accuracy when it comes to inventions like dynamite, the method of transportation of goods and people, the political development and social etiquette.

I don't know what to expect more from a historical fiction book.
It is such an excellent reflection of society and the times presented in a most entertaining way. It is satisfying and it is demanding to get more information about the world in 1884.

1884 No Boundaries is one of the best historical fiction books I read in 2015.

I was more than happy when I discovered that there will be more books starring Lord Langsford.

Additional Information
Site: A. E. Wasserman
Facebook: AE Wasserman

1884 No Boundaries excerpt

The future of Lord Langsford
1886 No Ties
1884 No Time

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