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Review of Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack by Thom Ernst/film critic and writer


Heidi von Palleske (Goodreads Author)

Thom Ernst's reviewAug 23, 2020 it was amazing bookshelves: to-read On those occasions, when I come upon a novel that truly has my attention—an experience that goes beyond merely distracting me with a good story—my reading tends to slow down. I want to linger over the pages, to savour each secret moment the author has created and revel in the way they've created a complex reality out of everyday words. Author Heidi von Palleske's latest, Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack is that kind of book. Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack bears more than a passing resemblance to works from John Irving and Roberston Davies, and yet the world Palleske gives the reader is unquestionably original. The novel is epic in that it travels through decades and continents, expanding beyond the familiar, awarding us with rich characters caught in bold situations and heartbreaking moments of both fate and chance. It's a novel well researched into a world few have considered. This is a tale about sight, both figuratively and literally. It’s about image and beauty; about lives full of colour and lives without. It’s a story of friendship, and devotion, but also a story of loss. Perhaps most significant, Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack is a story that suggests that in the eye of the beholder there is so much more than just beauty. By any standards, Palleske has written a page-turner, one that any reader will eagerly get lost in. Still, there will be readers (I'm one) pulling on the reins, fighting the temptation to discover what's next, even while Palleske coaxes us deeper into her tale. There is not a moment to be missed, to be breezed over, or carefully skimmed. Palleske writes with the skill of an alchemist, combing two common words so that together they become something remarkable. This is not just clever writing nor is it a skilled turn of a phrase; this is writing to prod the imagination into understanding a world beyond our own; a world beyond ourselves.

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