The Many Lives of John Stone
by Linda Buckley-Archer
Reviewed by: Leah Baumgartner
This is a really unique story that is a blend of both historical and contemporary fiction. The story jumps back and forth between the life of Jean-Pierre in the court of Louis XIV and the lives of John Stone and Stella Park in modern day England. I liked the main characters and I really came to care about what happened to them. The story made me think about what I would have done had I been in John Stone’s situation long after I finished the book and I would recommend it for those who like historical fiction. Spoiler alert! Don’t read beyond this point if you hate even the smallest of spoilers.
At the story’s core are couple of questions/premises that I personally found very intriguing to ponder even after I put the book down. First of all, what if there were a people group who had a genetic mutation that, barring some horrible accident/mortal wound, caused them to live for hundreds of years? Secondly, what if these people had been attacked and scattered long ago and had been blending in with society ever since then and were still living among us? Think of the challenges that not aging at the same rate as everyone else around you would present. In the 1600’s and 1700’s you would have been in very real danger of being considered a witch or something evil. Now days you would be in constant danger of being discovered and becoming a living guinea pig for researchers interested in longevity. At best if your secret were discovered by the general public in modern times you would be guaranteed to have no privacy. So how would you adapt? I liked what the author did with this premise and with the whole thorny issue of forming relationships with anyone who didn’t share your mutation. Do you choose to make friends or fall in love when you are almost guaranteed to vastly outlive those around you? I thought the author did a great job exploring some of these questions and I would highly recommend this book.