My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A stunning novel-parts mystery, coming-of-age adolescence, history, English literature, Romantic poets (Lord Byron), ghost story, haunting, English public school subculture, character-in-depth, plotting, budding romance-or not; this novel has everything and more, including a superb writing style that catches and enraptures the reader, making us want to go read everything this author writes. Justin Evans encapsulates the British public school (what we in America would term private schools) equally as well as fellow NYC author Jonathan Rabb writes of Germany between the Wars. I am just amazed and entranced with “The White Devil.”
Young Alex, never the cynosure of his embittered father’s eye, is shipped to London’s Harrow school (which boasts the poet Lord Byron’s tenure), due to his being caught using heroin with a school friend at a private Connecticut boys’ boarding school. This is Alex’s last chance, according to Dad-it’s shape up or be cut out of the family. Alex is an immediate loner because he is the only new Sixth Former (it’s his extra year now to try to convince any University, anywhere, to accept him), he is American, not British; and he so closely resembles alumni Lord Byron that his housemaster, a failing alcoholic poet, casts him in a school play about Byron’s life. The playwright is not the only one to notice Alex’s resemblance; the house ghost, a younger contemporary-and lover-of young Byron’s-discovers Alex to, and sets about to haunt him, whilst simultaneously causing deaths and other bizarre events.
Don’t take my word for it: “The White Devil” is a substantial winner. Get it and read!
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