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Arlene C. Harris started writing at a very early age. Her first works were epic tales involving Snoopy in his “Red Baron” mode teaming up with the cast from “Hogan’s Heroes”, mainly because at five years old she didn’t know there had been not one, but two, World Wars.
In 1996 she was the Grand Prize Winner of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award for her short story “His Best Weapon.” Shortly after that, she embarked on her six-book series Pont-au-Change. She has a few more books in the pipeline at this time.
Arlene lives in California.
on June 23, 2012 :
The second installment in the Pont-au-Change series, "Sanctuary" was just as much a pleasure to read as "Resurrections".
In this book, the reader gets to enjoy Javert's character growth as he continues to come to terms with the epiphany he experienced in "Resurrections". The story also explores Jean Valjean's struggles to adjust to life without Cosette there to be the center of his existence (and this reader is VERY glad that Valjean's circumstances in "Sanctuary" allow him to avoid the self-destruction over losing Cosette to Marius that he experienced in Les Misérables).
Another great pleasure of this book is seeing so many minor characters of Hugo's get some closure to their stories - forgotten characters of Hugo's one might never have expected to see again play significant roles in how events play out when Marius and Cosette visit Montreuil-sur-Mer. The interlude in Montreuil-sur-Mer was masterfully done in terms of tying up loose ends while also leaving enough of a fringe to weave part of that story arc into the third book, "Adrift". With this book, the reader begins to see that the story isn't *just* about Valjean and Javert, but pulls together many different people's stories to make a very satisfying whole.
Harris also gives the reader a number of very interesting primers on the historical context of external events in the book, such as some of the background of Canadian unrest about British rule, and religious persecution between Protestants and Catholics. It felt very much like reading Les Misérables when the narrative would take a little break to explain something relevant to the setting.
I cannot recommend this series highly enough to fans of Hugo's Les Misérables. I read the entire thing with a smile on my face - do yourself a service and check it out for yourself. :)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on June 08, 2012 :
For anyone who turned the last page of "Pont-au-Change: Resurrections" and sighed, saying "it just doesn't get any better"...WRONG! The saga of Jean Valjean continues in this sweeping sequel. Beginning in England and moving on to Canada and the northern United States, this tale has a bit of everything a reader could love. What happened to Montreuil-sur-Mer after Jean Valjean's hasty departure, years before? What did Victorians think of Catholics? What kind of relationship did Canada have with her mother country? These seemingly disparate themes are knitted together in a vibrant afghan that will warm anyone's library. Harris's imagery is rich and satisfying, and the story of how two men who couldn't be more different (or more similar!) become friends is a wonder. There are subtle ironies just under the surface to make the reader smile and wonder even while gasping in horror at the latest turn of fortune. As before, minor characters from Hugo's work are given more important roles to play in Harris's universe, and they acquit themselves beautifully, while new OCs (original characters) are brought in to bring a different dimension to the story. See history through the eyes of characters so real they must have lived it. Read. This. Book.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)