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Robert B Appleton

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Esther May Morrow's Buy or Borrow
by Robert B Appleton   

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Books by Robert B Appleton
· Sparks in Cosmic Dust
· Prehistoric Clock
· Sunset on Ramree
· The Mythmakers: An Impulse Power Story
· The Basingstoke Chronicles
                >> View all



Publisher:  Eternal Press Type: 


Copyright:  June 7, 2008 ISBN-13:  9781897559123

Time travel. Five stories. All linked by an unprecedented gift shop.

Eternal Press

Who is Esther May Morrow? Why is it that her strange shop, resembling something out of medieval England, has remained unchanged from the nineteenth to the twenty-third century. What is she selling? And who will come to buy...?

Stories in this collection feature a professional cardsharp with a dark secret; an old man, his dying dog, and a chance for immortality; a vengeful Marine and a special pocket watch; and a celebrated male prostitute and his unrequited love…for Olivia de Havilland!

Eerie, amusing and always original, these stories address the personal journeys of five haunted individuals, for whom quirks of time shed new light on their dilemmas. No one who enters Esther May’s shop is ever the same again.


Reclining, deflating against his stack of pillows after a long day, he smiled as her familiar profile came to life. The backdrop only fidgeted, but Olivia herself, arguably at her most ravishing, began to walk toward him with breathtaking fluidity. She hoisted her dress slightly to prevent it snagging on the uneven ground. She watched her footing over stiff clumps of grass. Her smile bloomed into sweet dimples whenever she looked up. And as Olivia stood within inches of him—the close-up of all close-ups—he turned to walk with her. A beautiful, innocent piece of programming. Courtesy of Sexual Fantasies, Inc.

Rex tapped the pause button with Miss Olivia staring directly at him. What a remarkable technology, he thought, that inks in the pixels to approximate beauty. Her round, angelic face, flush cheeks, big eyes, butter-wouldn’t-melt smile with a hint of naughtiness behind the teeth. The visor had got her exactly right in every detail. Except one.

It wasn’t really Olivia.

And Rex was in love with the real Olivia.

Professional Reviews

Fallen Angel Reviews

Esther May Morrow’s Buy or Borrow is a collection of short stories told from the perspective of individuals who stumble across Ms. Morrow’s store and leave with an item from the store. Esther May Morrow, herself, is a mysterious lady who runs this unusual gift shop. Her store contains various interesting items that seem unrelated, and the store seems to be a warren of these strange items. The store and Ms. Morrow also appear to be unchanged from the nineteenth to the twenty-third century. Items from the store cause unusual changes in the lives of the person possessing them.

I enjoyed this very unusual collection of stories. Arthur Everest has a creative if not warped imagination and has created five very unique tales. I grew up a fan of the old television show, The Twilight Zone, and I found these stories reminiscent of that type of tale. The five individuals featured in this collection all have some personal issue that needs to be addressed, and the item they find in the store in someway effects a ripple in time that offers a new perspective on their problem. There is a child who doesn’t ever want change in his life, a professional cardsharp who has secret to hide, an old man and his dying dog with the opportunity to alter the path towards death, a soldier determined to alter the fate of his family at any cost, and a futuristic male prostitute with a passion for Olivia de Havilland. All five tales are vastly different and offer a lesson or warning of some kind for the main character. My favorite is the child’s story because his tale comes about out of a child’s sense of naivety and innocence and yet is something we’ve probably all thought. My least favorite is the soldier’s story because he sought to effect or change history for personal reasons and the ending seems unfair. All five stories are worth your time and are entertaining. I am looking forward to more intriguing tales with Esther May Morrow and her unusual store.

Bitten By Books

Esther May Morrow’s shop is like no other: within it, you will find old, odd items that have a particular purpose for the people attracted to them. Esther’s skill revolves around manipulating time: backwards, forwards, frozen or even a limbo existing between the present and past.

In “Spellbound,” an eight-year-old boy who wishes that everything in his life would stay the same discovers what it would be like to get his wish. “Gin Rummy” follows card shark and murderer Horace Exeter who takes on the wrong person and pays a price he is unprepared for. In “Cretaceous,” we meet Vincent Knowles and his aged dog, Errol. Desiring more time for both himself and his beloved dog, Vincent finds out the dangers of taking away too many years from one’s own life. In the twenty-third century world of “Miss Olivia,” the Sexual Fantasy company allows people to play out their fantasies with their dream partners, typically old film stars, through the use of face and voice-altering technology.

This first collection in Everest’s short story cycle pulls the reader in easily, incorporating the character of Esther as a background fixture with enormous impact. Each story is both unique and complete yet allows Esther to appear in subsequent tales with ease. This reviewer looks forward to reading more about this intriguing character.

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