Historical Fiction

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - James Faro

Historical fiction is not a genre that I've delved into much. To be completely honest, history and I have never much gotten along. I typically landed B's and C's in my classes due to an inability to keep up with dates, years, and geography.

Despite that, there have been a handful of historical fiction books that have sparked my interest and managed to maintain it throughout the entire work. The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins is one of them. 

I enjoyed all the characters and felt that they were incredibly well developed and thought out. Additionally the plot is great and keeps you intrigued throughout the course of the work. 

There were a few times when I felt my head spinning a bit and had to put the book down for a day or so, but that's more to do with my difficulties with historical fiction than with the author's skills. As other reviewers have mentioned, the prose is very well written and offers up smooth reading.

Overall it's an excellent read and if you're a fan of historical fiction, then this is one I would recommend. 

Some Bio Information

James Faro joined the Merchant Navy at the age of sixteen, travelling extensively throughout Brazil, North America and the Caribbean. He has lived in many countries including Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Aden and the Netherlands.

Now living in Brighton, England, he has retained his fascination with travel and the sea which is reflected in his writing. He has a Post Graduate degree in History from the University of Sussex.

website: jamesfaro.com


1. What inspired you to write the book?

I read an article a while ago about the trial of Mary Webster of Hadley, Massachusetts, which took place in 1683, nine years before the infamous witch trials of Salem. This led me to write a short fictional story, The Widow of Duxbury. I then continued to research this historical period and combined it with my passion for the sea to develop the character of Tobias Hopkins.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

Once I have a theme or idea for a story, the characters take priority. I write a detailed history of their background, their physical appearance, personality traits and even their astrological star signs. I find pictures I think resemble them and then, as the story comes to light, I begin to plot and see where it takes me. Often a character will take over and lead me in a way I hadn't expected.

3. What type of readers would most enjoy your book?

I hope my book will appeal to all ages; readers who enjoy adventure, suspense and being taken on a journey: an escape from everyday life!

4. What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?

I hope my readers come away with a sense of having been taken on a journey, and perhaps are left thinking about my characters, hopefully wanting to know more about them. I also think it would be so rewarding if my book inspires even one or two to read more historical fiction.

5. Who is your favorite fictional character?

Tom Ripley, from the books by Patricia Highsmith. He's an anti-hero, a character the reader is not supposed to like, but he has charm and intelligence. Such an intriguing, complex man.

6. How would you describe your writing style?

I try to write simply and directly to the reader, as if I'm talking to them. I also like to think my writing is clear and concise and hope to paint a picture for the reader without being overly descriptive. I believe the reader should be free to use their imagination.

7. What's your ultimate writing goal?

My ultimate writing goal is to have a series of novels following Tobias Hopkins as he journeys through his life. I would love to see how his story develops and where it takes me. Many readers have asked if there is to be a sequel to the Assiduous Quest and I'm currently working on the follow-up which takes Toby to the Massachusetts Colony during King Philip's War, one of the worst conflicts between the New England settlers and the Native Americans.

Failed Moments

Failed Moments - A. Robert Allen

We all suffer from those "what if" moments. But in Failed Moments, A. Robert Allen forces his readers to really stop and think about the decisions and choices that they've made throughout their lives. 

I really appreciated the idea behind this book. The main character finds himself forced to relive and study some of the most difficult decisions he's made throughout the course of his existence. This is difficult for us to do in reality for just one life, but imagine having to relive the mistakes you've made throughout multiple realities and lifetimes! I feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it. . .

This book is well written and contains an overall interesting concept that makes you question your own choices in life. I think it's important for everyone to realize that the choices we make in life don't always just affect us. They can change the lives of those around us as well. That's a very important message that many people seem to forget. 

I recommend this book, especially if you love historical fiction. 

Some Bio Information

A. Robert Allen is a longtime New York City college administrator with a lifelong passion for writing. When he traced his family tree back hundreds of years and uncovered roots that were white, black, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish, the seed of a story began to grow. Failed Moments is a fictional account of the exploits of his ancestors during racially charged periods in the past.

Find out more about the author and his works at his website: http://arobertallen.com


1.    What inspired you to write this book?

I spent a year researching my family history and I discovered many unexpected things, the most important of which was my mixed ethnicity.  When I learned that my family was in the French colony of St. Domingue right before the slave revolution and NYC during the draft riots, I became fascinated by these places during those periods.  Then my imagination took over!
2.    Was there a point in your life that made you want to become an author?

I’ve always wanted to write and dabbled in it from time to time, but my desire increased over the last few years during my genealogy research.
3.    Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

A glass of Scotch and a terrace with a view always provides excellent inspiration.  I’m actually very much like a few of the characters in my book.
4.    How would you describe your writing style?

This is a hard one for me to answer, but I would like to think that my style is clean and simple ---I try not to let it get in the way of the story.
 5.    When is your favorite time to write? 

I like to write at night and research in the morning.
6.    What do you do to get into the writing mood?

I refer you back to my writing process…a good Scotch and a terrace does the trick!
7.    What’s your ultimate writing goal?

To achieve the kind of success that will enable me to spend less time marketing and more time creating.