The Between Times
Living in a world without freedom and taking away the rights of people is not uncommon even today. Within the fictional world created by the author we meet Benjamin and Jewell who lives in a world filled with darkness, fear, despair and hope. Corporations rule and the people unless they are of the right color, race, religious background and have the qualities and characteristics they feel belong within their world they are cast aside. Imagine a state with barriers separating the upper and lower towns as they are called. The upper as you can guess for the rich and those that belong to the corporate world and the lower for the cast asides, indigent and anyone not fit to be in the upper realm. As the story opens we hear the cries and screams of Benjamin as his wife is being killed for having the nerve and audacity to slip into the lower town to educate women and children in reading. How dare she teach those that are used for the purposes to please men and who are not worthy of anything? How dare she speak up even after her parents are killed and we know it was no accident or mistake? Leaving her husband and daughter behind to live in a place filled with dirt, no electricity, running water, heat or even a tub, Benjamin and Jewell have each other and the hope that they will escape their present leads to what caused it to happen in the past. The world was different back then. Museums were opened to the public. You could walk anywhere on the street and not have to worry and then it all changed and happiness was wiped out, curfews installed, hate and deceit climbed to the top of the ladder and despair and poverty won out as so many lost their homes even those that paid for them because a rich few are now in charge. But, somewhere in the between times where magical things happen maybe it will change.
The prophecy states that and the start of the book recounts it but Jewell and Benjamin are afraid that she will be sold at 16 to anyone that wants her and his friend Carlos fears for his seven year old son that is about to be taken away to school and then to the military knowing full well he will never see him again. The despair, sorrow and fear are just some of what the author relates but can this happen today? It has in some places and we need to open our eyes wider before it happens everywhere including here!
Jewell is talented and spends her days in the dark except for the tiny bit of light that comes through the small amount of window that allows it to shine. Able to create tapestries worth thousands she sews everyday, her patterns unique and magical as she prepares two for Jamie, her father’s friend who has no idea who is making them yet knows that they possess magical powers and the ability to make others not hear or see you when the tapestries are placed in a special way. Things were about to change when she reads the journal given to her father by Jamie and understands why he is going to help her find the path to her grandmother and hopefully change the world and garner her strength to create the magic of the between times. Reading it she understood to a point what happened and how women were to blame for everything and how dare her mother and grandmother want to speak out in their defense. Women no longer would be able to control that they married, if allowed to have children, work, and vote or have any freedoms as they were cast aside and faced being burned along with her mother if they dare to speak out. So, when her father arrives home and explains the rest just what she has to do will place her in danger, hopefully lead her to the one person that can explain even more and pray that Jewell can make the prophecy come true and create the magic of the between times.
Along in the dark and having to deal with caves, the guards lurking and the dangers she prays that Catherine will be there to guide her to her grandmother in safety. Ana is referred to as the Old Mother and what she reveals to Jewell will forever open flood gates, explain why her mother sacrificed her life and why there are ten thousand people living below the surface in this created place.
The corporations plan was to control the branches of the government, divide the races and sexes while demeaning and degrading women and anyone not white or Christian. Even that was not enough you have to be Christian and belong to right church. Deregulate everything and so few would rule so many. Poverty and bankruptcy and hate. A dark room with a ceiling filled with more darkness and despair as her father explains her path and what is next. Reading the journal and learning what Jamie’s family did to take her mother’s life and the fact he wanted forgiveness was a lot for her to take in yet Jewell’s power they hoped would be great and the end result releasing the darkness and bringing everyone into the light. But, the responsibility was all hers and she feared failure. Meeting Ana her grandmother and so many people that relied on her put a pressure on Jewell that most would have fallen and not survived. Her strength is there and her hope running high but what if she could not create the magic of the between times and children would be born into a world such as hers?
Bloodshed on the streets, men with no jobs and fighting over food and women. Some just wanting to believe the lies of the corporations and the media who tended to elaborate and embellish on it. Their problems existed because women were evil and could not be trusted. They held jobs that men should have and religious leaders added to the fuel and the fires. Corporations one and they chose the remaining religions and formed a state religion. As Jamie relates to Jewell in the journal watching her mother turn to ash and burn he realized that the country was destroyed and leaving as it is he hoped would change. Asking her forgiveness is a lot and hoping that she will be able to deal with her task the hope for everyone. Is she the woman of the prophecy? Can she bring the magic of the between times to so many thousands of people? An ending that is quite magical and I know that the author has more to pen when she writes what happens next and if Jewell was able to change the world and bring about the special powers of The Between Times. As we scan the globe of the world we realize that there are many who live the way of the people in this novel and the author hopes that in the future everyone will be free, promote equality and honor our country for how great America is and that we must be alert and vigilant or our freedoms will disappear and everyone will have to search for the magic of the between times. “ The Between Times is the time between night and day when all magical things happen. It is the time of day where the walls between the worlds are thin and enchantment might be revealed.” It is the time of day to bring about change.
Will Jewell be the one to have all the people join hands and call upon the spirits of the past, present and future and together they will become one power, one body and from that day forward will the darkness disappear? Powerful, compelling, thought provoking and mind awakening as you the reader enter Jewell’s world and become part of the circle that holds hands and hopefully create the magic of The Between Times.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine