Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.
Luckily, my prayers were answered! Wild Rover No More is much better than Boston Jacky, and a wonderful finale to one of my favorite series!
Boston Jacky by L.A. Meyer
Series: The Bloody Jack Adventures, Book 11 (Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Taking Care of Business)
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Adventure, Humor
Format: Audiobook, narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Rating: 3.5 stars
Jacky Faber has a habit of making waves–even when docked in her adopted city of Boston, where she is attending to the business of Faber Shipping Worldwide. With big dreams and perhaps a bit too much exuberance for the very Puritan populace, she purchases the Pig and Whistle Inn, determined to revive her old stomping grounds and establish a musical theater.
But Jacky quickly finds herself at odds with the Women’s Temperance Union and a town roiling with tension over the arrival of hundreds of Irish laborers–brought in by her very own Lorelei Lee. As things heat up, both literally and figuratively, she’s soon back in Judge Thwackham’s courtroom facing the dozen lashes promised the last time she stood before the judge. Thwarted at every turn by her enemies, Jacky is finally forced to confront her shortcomings–and possibly lose her beloved Jaimy Fletcher in the process.
Sadly, I’d have to say that Boston Jacky is my least favorite Jacky Faber book. I felt it greatly lacking in action, and the variety of adventures seen in nearly all the other Jacky Faber books. Books 1-10 all include many changes in pace, location, focus, or major supporting character cast. In comparison, Boston Jacky remind mostly stagnant, leaving me yearning for a bit more “oomph” by the end. I also really missed Higgins’s warm, supportive, fatherly presence, even more than I miss Jaimy usually!
One final, and quite picky, criticism — Katherine Kellgren didn’t seem as amazingly polished as she is in all 15 other audiobooks of hers that I’ve listened to. Her character voices sounded slightly off, and they all took me a minute to get used to and place.
However, as a Jacky Faber book, I can’t rate Boston Jacky as anything less than a 3.5! I am hoping for a bit more from the long-awaited final book in the series, Wild Rover No More.
Wild Rover No More by L.A. Meyer
Series: The Bloody Jack Adventures, Book 12 (Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life and Times of Jacky Faber)
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Adventure
Format: Audiobook, narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Rating: 5 stars!!!
Just when it looks like Jacky Faber and her beloved Jaimy will finally find their romance, Jacky is accused of treason and must flee Boston while her friends attempt to clear her name. Of course that means wild adventures for our fun-loving heroine, who manages to secure a job as a governess…and run away with the circus. The highly anticipated grand finale of the Bloody Jack Adventures.
Luckily, my prayers were answered! Wild Rover No More is much better than Boston Jacky, and a wonderful finale to one of my favorite series! Governess to a devilish boy, Russian tightrope walker in a circus, and eventual criminal and traitor sentenced to be hanged… the final Bloody Jack Adventures book does not disappoint!
I have had such a strong emotional connection to this series, I must admit I did cry when I listened to the last words Katherine Kellgren read to me (thus this book certainly counts in the category of “A Book that Made Me Cry”!). In addition, I wrote my first bit of “fan fiction” I guess you could call it (it was actually in Walt Whitman poem format for an English class) last year, with my version of Jacky’s death by hanging and (of course) her eventual rescue. Although I spent many hours contemplating the outcome of this lengthy series, my story did not end up matching L.A. Meyer’s in the least (and is thus also not a spoiler of any sort), and I was greatly surprised and satisfied by Jacky Faber’s true demise. Here is my version:
I have rediscovered a love this year that will soon come to an end . . .
And I attempt to write my own version of the devastating events I see in the future. . . . . hoping to
simultaneously improve them and my nervous expectations.
Oh, how she shivers and blubbers as she is prodded up the steep ladder . . . . a dangerous feat
considering her bound hands and the glimmering pigsticker she’d fall back on if she lost her
Finally reaching the top of the rickety, hastily built structure . . . . she bows her canvas sack-covered
head, and it is clear that she is trying to collect herself for her last moments on this earth.
The uncontrollable sobbs rack her body in a way so unlike her normally bubbly, optimistic spirit . . . . in
a way only Katherine Kellgren could emulate.
But her journey is far from over . . . . as she staggers towards the waiting noose . . . . her one and only
fear since the days of the Blackfriars Bridge gang . . . . finally come to take her as she always
knew it would in the end.
But the end has come much sooner than she realized . . . .
Using her last ounce of courage, she holds her head high, although we see naught through the canvas . .
. . as the executioner slips the dreaded noose over her head . . . . and tugs to make sure
of the fit . . . .
Then he drags his vile self to the lever that will release the trapdoor under her bare feet, sending her
down with only the noose to break her fall . . . . and her neck . . . .
But he pauses for a moment . . . . and soon we realize why . . . .
She is singing, the sound muffled but distinctly hers . . . .
Of all the comrades that e’re I’ve had, they’re sorry for my going away . . . . and all the sweethearts
that e’re I’ve had, they’d wish me one more day to stay . . . .
But since it falls onto my lot, that I should rise and you should not . . . . I’ll gently rise and I’ll softly
call . . . . goodnight and joy be with you all . . . .
She sings a little too quickly, surely worried she won’t finish before he pushes down on that menacing
lever . . . .
But when Jacky sings out the last note, the last note of the song she always finished her musical sets
with at the old Pig and Whistle Tavern. . . .
I swear even the executioner had tears in his eyes.
But then he pushes down hard . . . . the trapdoor swings forcefully down . . . .
As Katy shoots her homemade but deadly arrow, which Jacky had made her promise she would use to end
her life instead of the terrible noose . . . . but instead, Katy aims a little higher . . . .
And the arrow slashes through the rope extending above Jacky’s head . . . . just as she begins to fall,
expecting a violent jerk but not getting it . . . . because she continues to fall . . . .
And gets a soft landing in my loving arms, as I cut her free from the piece of noose she is still attached
to, the ropes on her hands, and the sack over her head . . . . and give her a mighty kiss before
we must move on . . . .
Meanwhile, up above, Randall and Higgins have beheaded the executioner in the same fashion he has
done in so many others, and battled off any guards Katy had not already dealt with.
I race Jacky, still snug in my arms . . . . completely bewildered and still blubbering something to herself
. . . . out the small door of the low area below the gallows where I had been waiting, hidden from sight of the crowd and the executioner due to the covered nature of this handy space.
I leap astride the waiting horse, not an easy task without available arms and weighed down with an
extra 90 pounds, and ride full speed ahead to the rendezvous point where we will meet up and
discuss our next adventure . . . .
But for now, I am just breathtakingly happy to have my beloved Jacky in my arms once again.
I have always pictured Jacky Faber singing the traditional Irish song The Parting Glass as she herself parts from the world. I know I want it sung at my funeral.
In the entire Jacky Faber series there is some amazing foreshadowing that hints at Jacky’s fate in Wild Rover No More, however it is so subtle and long ago that the end is still a complete surprise!
Although the written series has finally concluded, Jacky will never settle down (no matter how hard Jaimy tries to force it!). Thank you to L.A. Meyer (may he rest in a heaven full of nautical adventure!) for the fantastic series I will never forget and will revisit again and again!
This book counts for the School YA Bingo Challenge in the category “A Book that Made Me Cry.”