*I received a complimentary advanced readers copy of this book from the author. The following is my honest review.*
If she wanted help changing the world for one forgotten child, she chose the wrong man. Seventy-two-year-old Francis Frick would scorn his own family to close another deal. But Bee doesn’t see the world like you or me. She is an optimist, searching for potential where none exists, and so she hovers above Frick’s bed every night, eating pomegranates and waiting for his eyes to open to the possibilities. One night, it finally happens. A rogue droplet of juice slips through her fingers and hits the sleeping Manhattan businessman on the forehead, thrusting him on a series of baffling adventures to some of the twentieth century’s most brutal regimes—all to help Bee save a forgotten child of history.
A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far is part one of The Forgotten Child Trilogy—a one-of-a-kind adventure that mixes time travel, magical realism, and historical fiction into a contemporary story about an old man, his estranged daughter, and a tiny flying person in a white robe, who chooses to believe that anything can happen with enough prodding and an endless supply of pomegranates.
Francis Frick is the typical Scrooge of the business world. He rules his empire with an iron fist, close-minded and ignorant to the happiness of others. The only thing that matters is money and making more money. His own needs and wants come in a close second. Francis is the king of his self-induced pitiful existence.
One night, Bee, a white-robed entity chooses him to be her next project, “knowing that if action ever did occur, it would be an action that didn’t matter, and that was all that mattered to her.” Bee is something of an enigma, part angel, part devilish child – I could never put my finger on her for sure. She could be one of the Fates assisting her progeny on his life journey, or not. And, that is her allure.
Nevertheless, Bee initiates the call to adventure and Francis has no choice but to participate in the pantomime of Bee’s choosing. With Bee, there’s a reason for everything. You just have to trust her instincts.
The old man disappears from New York in a series of strange and unusual experiences, each fraught with danger and life-threatening consequences. Bit by bit, the reason for his time travel reveals a path to redemption if he makes the right choices.
Magical realism is my favorite genre. Unlike most fantasy stories that occur in a fictional land, the magical part occurs in the normal world. Such is the case with Francis Frick. Imagine being thrust into the past and into a place where you had the opportunity to right a wrong. Would you do it? What if you had some magical help?
I have had the pleasure of reading most of Mark Sasse’s novels which like his characters have grown in expression, bursting with life lessons portrayed from living in an unsure world. The author’s descriptions are rich and vibrant placing the reader at the scene of the crime as it is being committed. His imagination is limitless!
The fact that Sasse has lived in various parts of the world figure prominently in his writing. His novels always make me think and weigh out the decisions of his characters. There is always a lesson, and I like that in a novel. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving.
The holiday season is the perfect time to acknowledge the magic that exists in your own life. A Man Too Old for a Place to Far is the perfect Christmas story and at $.99 is a steal. Stay tuned; there will be a sequel to this novel published in 2018. I can’t wait! ❤
Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Fairies
Author, Mark W. Sasse
Mark W Sasse is a novelist and award-winning playwright and director. He vacillates on a daily basis between which genre of writing he enjoys the most. Luckily, he doesn’t have to choose! Sasse’s novels have been featured on curated sites such as Bookbub and Noisetrade, and his plays have been produced in New York, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney, Australia. His play “The Last Bastion” earned him the 2018 Greywood Arts Winter Writing Residency in Ireland. He is also a three-time winner of the Best Script Award at the Penang Short & Sweet Theatre Festival. His plays have won multiple other awards such as Best Overall Performance and Audience Choice Award. He won the Festival Director’s Award at the 2016 festival.
Sasse’s interests cast a wide net – from politics to literature – from culture and language – from history and religion, making his writing infused with the unexpected as he seeks to tell authentic and engaging stories about people from all walks of life. His writing is straightforward and accessible to all, especially those who enjoy a page-turning good story injected with doses of history, adventure, Asian culture, and unexpected humor.
After being an adamant standalone novel advocate, he’s changed his tune and is working on the epic Forgotten Child Trilogy. Book one, A MAN TOO OLD FOR A PLACE TOO FAR, released in December 2017, and the following two books will continue the story in 2018 and 2019. He finally found the story that required more than one book, and he’s thrilled with it. It a crazy mix of magical realism, history, and time travel, wrapped alongside the requisite human stories.
As for his plays, he’s fond of both the short play (10 minutes or less) and full-length formats. From 2011-2017 he wrote for and directed the drama ensemble The RLT Players, a passionate group of dramatic storytellers who specialize in the short play format. In September 2016, his experimental theatre piece “How to Build a Dictator” was featured as part of Penangpac’s Black Box Experiments series. His goal is to have it go into full production somewhere in the world. Any takers?
He currently teaches drama in Saudi Arabia.
HOW DID HE FINALLY GET HIMSELF WRITING?
Sasse remembers writing his first play when he was about thirteen. It was about Queen Esther and the only person he ever showed that play to was his mother. In college, he wrote lots of poetry, even love poetry for a certain girl. But once he graduated, his writing confidence was shattered, so he gave it up for the next twenty years. He doesn’t recommend doing that! He went to China to teach English in 1992 and eventually moved to Vietnam to do the same in 1994, shortly after the U.S. lifted the embargo against their former enemy. He lived in the exotic Vietnamese culture with his family for nearly ten years. After many life-changing experiences, Sasse’s new-found taste for history sent him back to school to pick-up a second Master’s degree, this one in Humanities. This led to a shift from teaching English to history as he moved to Malaysia in 2006. Little did he know, however, that all of this was building up to another major shift which would get him back to writing.
On a whim in 2007, he embarked on a collaborative project with a group of students to write and produce a play, resulting in the original stage play “Monkey Love Potion.” It was such a fun and rewarding experience that he decided to try it again the following year. Before he knew it, he was hooked, and that was the beginning of his love affair with live theatre. After writing and successfully producing four original full-length scripts, he finally got the nerve to try his hand once again at a hidden desire which had defeated him many times over the years – novel writing.
In the summer of 2011, he embarked on the journey of writing his first novel. His greatest worry was reaching the magical 50,000-word mark, so he could officially call himself a novelist. When the story, “Beauty Rising,” clocked in at over 60,000 words, he was shocked and happy. But not content. He didn’t know what to do with the novel, and he convinced himself that it would sit idle until he wrote a second novel. He hated hearing the words “one-hit wonder” echo in his head. So in the summer of 2012, he wrote “The Recluse Storyteller.”
Feeling a little more confident, he decided to focus on exposing his work to the public in order to receive some feedback. In December 2012, he independently published “Beauty Rising.” When the first review from an online book reviewer was posted, and it was over-the-top positive, he was flying high, and if he never wrote another word in his life, he would have been content. But that contentment was not to be. He was now hopelessly hooked on both playwriting and novel writing, and he hasn’t looked back since.
He has published five novels with six already finished and ready for publication in 2017. Number seven will be his first sequel and will be available sometime in 2018. He is grateful to all the readers who have joined him on this journey of creativity.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
Sasse loves to cook everything from pizza to Thai. He’s coached softball or baseball for the past ten years, and he’s been a much too loyal fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates since he was nine years old—another item he’s hopelessly hooked on. He enjoys traveling, visiting historical sites, and sitting by the beach or other scenic spot with a laptop, an idea, and a lot of time. He has a lovely wife and three wonderful children and one really cool son-in-law – he’s Korean, keeping with the Asian theme of his life. He has an active blog (www.mwsasse.com) where he frequently writes about history, writing, culture, and life. He loves to hear from readers, so he hopes you’ll stop by his site and say “hello.”
The Complete List of Published Works by Mark W Sasse
The African Connection (The Forgotten Child Book 2) (2018)
A Man too Old for a Place too Far (The Forgotten Child Book 1) (2017)
Which Half David: A Modern-day King David Story (2016)
A Love Story for a Nation (2015)
The Reach of the Banyan Tree (2014)
The Recluse Storyteller (2013)
Beauty Rising (2012)
The Folly of Progress (2017)
The Last Bastion (2017)
How to Build a Dictator (2016)
The Secrets of the Magic Pool (2016)
Grandparents’ War (2013)
Romans on the Couch (2011)
The Hundred Pitch At-Bat (2017)
Christmas in the Trenches, 1914 (2016)
If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story (2014)
Facebook at Author Mark W. Sasse
blog at MW Sasse.com
Thanks for stopping by! ❤