Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Sun, the Moon, and Maybe the Trains / Rodney Jones

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: YA/ Coming of Age/ Time Travel

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Rodney Jones resides in Richmond, Indiana, where he spends his days pecking at a laptop. His life-long ambition was to become an artist until he discovered his affinity for writing. In writing, the words are creating images, the images are telling a story, and the story evokes feelings. His other interests include science, politics, travel, gardening, music, whiskey and chocolate.


It is 1875 and seventeen-year-old John Bartley is living along the Appalachian Trail in Vermont when he suddenly finds himself in the year 2009.
What would it take to convince you that the woods you just left is a hundred and forty-four years distant from those you just entered? Fortunately, he comes across an outspoken teenager, Tess McKinnon; to earn her trust John must prove he is neither a liar nor a lunatic.


The author first introduces us to John and a couple of his friends in a scene that was reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons. I found it engaging and light-hearted, he also did a good job painting the scene and rounding out the important characters in that period. I felt comfortable there.

The story is in first person, so everything we know is through John’s eyes. When the time shift first happens, as John is taking a wagon load of flour and grist over the mountain to the general store in the next town, he parks the wagon to rest the horses and wanders the woods. John’s confusion is evident as the scenery changes, but he is able to find his way back, not having a clue what had happened. Back home curiosity gets the best of him and on the next trip into town, he looks for the same spot again. This time he is not able to find his horses and wagon, so he heads back to town on foot. He comes across Tess as she is coming out of her house and of course, she thinks he is a vagrant. I enjoyed the dialogue between John and Tess as he was introduced to the wonders of the twenty first century with locked doors, cars, cell phones, flashlights, and cameras. Hey, it could happen! :) Well, it did in this story.

When Tess makes her trip into the past, we get to experience her wonder at life in the 19th century, and her distress at not being able to return to her own time. The character driven plot takes a devastating twist when the sheriff arrives looking for a runaway matching Tess’ description. Hold on tight for the last quarter of the story, is packed with action and heart wrenching turmoil.

I also enjoyed some of the old-fashioned turns of phrase as in “I’d knock you into a cocked hat if there wasn’t a lady present”, “I reckon I did” and “Does anyone have a hankerin’ for apple pie?” These were not over done and fit the context of the story. I look forward to more from this author; he paints a beautiful, intelligent, and original story. I truly enjoyed it.

Format/Typo Issues:

Review based on an advanced reader copy so I can not evaluate this area.

Rating: **** Four stars

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