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CONCESSION STREET SECRETS
The year 1868 is a tough time to be intersexual, especially if you’re a woman—and in love.
Eliza Malkins, printer at the Kingston British Whig newspaper, is secretly in love with reporter Alex O’Shea. Although they are best friends with a shared passion for many things, including the mystery novel Alex is writing, Eliza would never dare to voice her feelings for fear of being rejected due to her unique anatomical makeup.
Their relationship takes an unexpected turn when, while on assignment in Ottawa, Alex encounters a vulnerable young woman who has escaped from confinement in her own house. The further he is drawn into the mysterious young woman’s world, the more compelled he feels to protect her from the dark forces that seem to be draining her life right before his eyes. Before he can enact his plan to rescue her, however, he finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery that seems like it came right out of one of the novels he enjoys, with one significant twist: he’s the primary suspect. Desperate to help her friend, Eliza sheds her identity as a woman and takes on the persona of Timothy Fairlight, detective. Her investigative skills are put to the ultimate test as she seeks to save her beloved from the hangman’s noose. Not only that, for the first time in her life, her identity as intersex becomes an asset rather than a liability.
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ALSO BY RALPH F. SMITH
"TWITCH: THE FOUNDLING'S QUEST"
Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Twitch:The Foundling's Quest by Ralph F. Smith is a Dickensian tale that exceeds expectations. Malcolm’s story is the life of a poor boy who manages to beat the odds and rise from poverty, but the journey he faces on his way to success has been paved with obstacles as if fate has played some sick joke on him. Malcolm is not only fostered at impoverished Surrey Farm but also suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome that is made worse by living in a time that is not yet familiar with his malady. He too agrees that it is the devil who makes him blink and twitch, and he struggles to fight his tics as it gets worse. However, this does not stop him from freeing himself from the shackles of his miserable lot. But sacrifices have to be made. One of them is his love for his foster sister, Lydia. Told in vivid images and precise word choices, Twitch pays homage to the Dickensian tale of an innocent boy being forced to face the challenges of a cruel world. It is a bittersweet tale that transports you to the time of its setting, and readers can expect to feel something poignant. Ralph Smith brings a strong touch of realism to the setting, especially when it comes to the norms and values of the period. It will trigger your anger at those who are ignorant and refer to Malcolm’s tics as the workings of the devil. Twitch ends and begins as a great novel, and I believe that this is because it follows a romantic line and gives ample time and space for you to follow Malcolm in his coming of age journey. This is not just a story about the affairs of the heart. It is an enchanting tale of triumph with intense feeling and depth, and I strongly recommend that you read it.
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Also by Ralph F. Smith: Bright Deep
"Lovers of fantasy and magic will warm to this coming-of-age tale filled with wizardry and spells." -Kirkus Reviews
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