Review of historical fantasy She’s the One Who Won’t Behave by S.R. Cronin
Gypsum, the sixth of seven sisters, has always been a rebel. Yet no one thought she would go so far as to join the reczavy, a group living in tents on the edge of the desert and known for their sexual promiscuity and playful ways.
But as the date of the Mongols’ return draws near, Ilarians of all types must work together if they are to have any hope of surviving. And the reczavy, for all of their odd ways, do have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Well, up their sleeves whenever they are bothering to wear clothes, that is.
Gypsum is touched when her oldest sister Ryalgar comes to call, and brings an olive branch with her. Ryalgar recognizes that the reczavy have as much to lose as anyone, and as much to contribute. Will Gypsum accept a key role in the plan to stop the invasion? Of course she will.
Unfortunately, her playmates don’t all feel the same sense of urgency. Many would rather simply enjoy the time they have left. A few claim to be allergic to long term planning. And some are too busy with their own poorly-timed plans to overthrow the government Ilari already has.
Good thing needlepoint is the one traditional skill at which Gypsum has always excelled. She will need to thread a fine needle in order to coax this recalcitrant group into becoming life-saving warriors of a very different kind.
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Excerpt from She’s the One Who Won’t Behave
Curled up naked beside him on his lumpy bed, I learned of the ill-advised pranks that forced him to change schools. Stupid things. I thought his school over-reacted until I learned his closest friend received no punishment at all.
“They decided I had to be the bad influence. Best to get rid of me, you know? Probably shouldn’t have let me in to begin with…”
“Because your name is Sheep Scump?” Despite my joke, I sat up, indignant for him.
He sat up as well, and wrapped a blanket around both of our shoulders.
“No. Because my friend has a father who teaches there. They look out for their own.”
Maybe this wasn’t the time to tell him my father taught also.
“Your parents weren’t inclined to intervene on your behalf?” I saw the displeasure on his face before I finished the sentence. “Wait. I remember. They don’t care that you’re in school.”
“Oh, they care; they just don’t care which one. Anything that keeps me from herding goats pisses them off.”
I only knew one place in Ilari where goat herding was common. I scooted away from him without thinking.
“You’re an Edser?”
“Yes.” He met my gaze with a look saying you want make something of it?
I didn’t. Edsers were known for being cranky, intolerant, and ignorant. So far Sheep Scump had only shown signs of crankiness. I didn’t want to encourage it.
“So. You’re an unusual Edser who wants an education.”
“I thought I did. And what are you? The cherished daughter of a …”
I interrupted him. “Don’t go there. I’m not a cherished anything. I’m the sixth daughter of wheat farmers, and I’m the child both parents wish had never been born.”
My eyes met his. Top that they said.
My Review of She’s the One Who Won’t Behave
This series is so fascinating. I love how each book brings me a little closer to how the invasion is dealt with, and this book in particular has a great (if frustratingly curious) cliffhanger about how the seventh sister gets involved. Very much looking forward to the final installment.
The reczavy are an interesting people that, as a culture, say a lot about the dangers of making assumptions about people when all you have to go on is rumors or something you heard from someone who talked to someone to was in the area once. To get a bit more, well, personal, I guess, for a second, I also liked how they promoted the idea that pleasure isn’t just one thing. Feeling cared for is its own kind of good feeling. Even more, letting people choose what they want to do and how involved they want to be with anything allows for more freedom and better self-worth. This last one is a lesson I wish more people could comprehend.
As always, I recommend this book and the entire series. So, go read, and I’ll be here waiting for the next one.
About S.R. Cronin
Sherrie Cronin writes stories about people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had. She’s made a lot of stops along the way to telling these tells — living in seven cities, visiting forty-six countries, and working as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. She’s lost too many beloved cats to mention, but has acquired a husband and three children who are all doing fine, despite how odd she is.
Today she lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina where she writes, answers a hotline, and occasionally checks her phone for a message from Captain Picard. She still hopes to get the chance to pursue her remaining dream in life and become Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise.
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