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June Jenson and the Shield of Quell*

Family Dynamics and Archaeological Intrigue

This is the first book I have read by this author, and I quite enjoyed it. I was in the mood for something a little different, so archaeological intrigue sounded like it would do the trick. This book is decidedly English: in tone, vocabulary, references, and most punctuation. As such, as I have often found in contemporary British literature, it tends to meander a little bit, but that does not mean that the journey is unpleasant. I loved the relationship between the heroine and her grandfather. Her love of history was learned at his knee. She lives with him but is finding it a challenge as he becomes more and more altered by Alzheimer’s dementia. My own father had dementia in his later years; I like the way that the author deals with it in the book. The disorder does have both moments of humor and pathos, and I think that the author is able to show that as well as how difficult it is for care-taking family members to have a full life. The grandfather is a colorful, interesting character. But the story, of course, isn’t just about this. The novel has some intrigue around an artifact that the grandfather was believed to have taken from an archaeological dig some time ago. It shows up but then disappears again. The heroine is wanting to clear her grandfather’s good name once and for all. Will she succeed?