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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Can love really happen between an eighty-eight-year-old woman and a forty-eight-year-old man? Richard Alther’s novel Roxie & Fred will make readers believe that age doesn’t matter when real love calls two souls to find themselves in each other. Meet 88-year-old Roxie, a woman who has had her share of men in life, from the marvelous to the miserable, now retired after a life of helping women in difficult situations. She spends the best part of her time in her lush garden, enjoying art and yoga. Then a chance meeting with the 48-year-old Fred, a painter who doesn’t seem all that interested in his work, changes everything, and it doesn’t take long before the two find themselves longing for each other. What is it that attracts them, one to the other, and can this really be possible with their age gap of 40 years?
I love stories with strong characters and those that I can easily relate to, and Richard Alther has created such characters in Roxie and Fred. The story is a remarkable achievement and hugely satisfying at multiple levels. The prose is carefully crafted, with descriptions that transport readers through the vivid settings to the intricacies of the hearts of the characters. The author blends themes of art, love, yoga, and sexuality in a way that allows the humanity of the characters to come out powerfully while enhancing plot points. Character development is impeccable and it is interesting how Roxie’s presence in Fred’s life could change his approach to work. Roxie & Fred is a moving tale of love that beats all conventions and elevates the mystery of human connection to a whole new level. It is deft, balanced, and hugely satisfying.