Foreword Reviews

Uncle Cheroot

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Uncle Cheroot is alluring, surrounded by mystery and enlivened by his supernatural attributes.

In Alan Jansen’s fantastical novel Uncle Cheroot, a young woman aims to discover who she is by unraveling her uncle’s supernatural legacy, resulting in a unique take on unfamiliar beings.

Uncle Cheroot tells its story through diary entries, often within other diary entries. Turtle, who lives with her family in rural England in the mid-1900s, is the novel’s main narrator. She recounts times when her intriguing Uncle Cheroot stopped by, each visit steeped in mystery and the supernatural.

Cheroot never ages, never gets hurt, and has an uncanny pull on others. At the time of her diary entries, Turtle herself has not aged or fallen ill in some time. She turns to Cheroot for any clue regarding to her true identity. As Turtle unearths Cheroot’s true, nonhuman origins, she comes to recognize who and what she is herself.

Uncle Cheroot unfolds thanks to prose that is articulate and compelling, if not at all times believable. Turtle’s voice does not always sound like that of a young woman; in fact, it is sometimes noticeably reflective of the male gaze, as when Turtle meets other women and describes them in terms of their bodily attributes.

Long passages in the book’s diary entries would be excellent reading in the context of a standard novel but are unrealistic for the diary format. They are filled with information dumps that provide background knowledge but are strange within the medium.

When it comes to characterization, the novel shines. Uncle Cheroot is alluring. He is surrounded by mystery and enlivened by his supernatural attributes, from his irresistible sexual pull to the bloodstone he wears around his neck.

Cheroot is sometimes diabolical and misogynistic but is still captivating. Stories of his numerous exploits are entertaining and humorous, though this serial womanizer is also convincingly drawn as someone who will do anything to protect the family he loves.

The bulk of the novel is driven by Uncle Cheroot’s antics in Turtle’s village, which include blackmail, questionable sexual encounters, and the revelations of mystical abilities. He regularly finds himself involved in village disputes, from arguments over land to more supernatural events, like a ghost in the town church.

Even more unique characters come to light as the book progresses, including Turtle’s lovable animal companions and her heartwarming relatives. Each introduced character is built up well as someone to remember and adore.

Uncle Cheroot is a work with an intriguing premise and an enticing protagonist whose exploits are memorable.

Reviewed by Mya Alexice

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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