The Amazing Tale of Anna Himmel and the Gold Sovereign by Stevie Henden is a curious story.
The narrative mainly follows Martin, a Londoner who ends up working at an outreach center. He finds out his boss has had dreams involving a gold sovereign that made its way through Martin’s family tree.
The character of Martin is likeable. He has some arrogance and prejudice issues but they are dealt with during the course of the narrative. The novel deals with the LGTB community as well as talk about some stereotypes that come with homosexual males and transvestites. I believe that this is first and foremost a LGTB novel with sprinkles of the supernatural scattered liberally throughout. The book has bits of magic weaved throughout the narrative, like the mysterious gold sovereign and Iris’ dream powers/visions and the truth about Anna Himmel. Towards the end, the author had intriguing ideas about the afterlife and how angels work.
I like the variety of ages and social statuses represented in this book. Martin is in his 30s and interacts with people in their 60s to 90s, bringing attention to the generational gap and different it was for homosexuals back when they were young (Martin’s story takes place in 2011). Also Martin is a city-boy who has to adjust his way of thinking when he starts working with people in more suburban communities with different mindsets. I think that type of dynamic fascinating and could have been explored further.
The pacing seems a bit off in places and the author seems to gloss over important tidbits in favor of going directly to the results. One example is when Martin goes to a meeting where he learns more about the trans-community and what they go through but the author does not go into detail about what Martin heard or experienced. It just moves into the next paragraph saying that Martin had learned a lot from it.
Ultimately, the novel is an interesting read though I found myself more curious about Martin’s bosses than about the gold sovereign at times. I understand that this may not be for everyone but I believe it is worth a read.
Reviewed by Jazmin Gousse
Publisher: Matador Publishing Ltd
Publication date: 8/18/2014