The Kingdom of Ohio
By Matthew Flaming
What happens when two people in love are separated? What happens to the love, the heartbreak? Can time and space shift?
Peter Force, newly arrived in New York City in 1900, finds a job working on the subway system at first breaking rock and then repairing the machines that break and move the earth. One cold evening, he meets Cherie-Anne Toledo, and feeling sorry for her, offers her help. Cherie-Anne tells him an amazing tale of time travel and inventors that he can’t believe but he also can’t tear himself away from her or her story.
Cherie-Anne is a mathematical prodigy and a member of the royal family of the Kingdom of Ohio, a place Peter has never heard of. While he is drawn to both Cherie-Anne and her story, he doesn’t find it in himself to believe her until he sees a few things for himself. Although cautious, he finds himself helping her intrigued by what he has seen and heard.
A lot of famous people make appearances in this book — Thomas Edison, JP Morgan, and Nikola Tesla. Numerous footnotes dot the story adding odd notes and sidebars the narrator feels are necessary for the reader to have a complete understanding. These notes make you wonder about the narrator and his actual role in the story he is telling.
The Kingdom of Ohio is a short book and a very rich one. It’s about love, heartbreak, time travel, science and its impact on the world as well as its consequences. It’s all about what we know and what we think we know. How something as simple as the light bulb can have such an effect on our lives and make us wonder where we are going and what the affect might be.
I wasn’t expecting the story I was told in this book but what I did find was lovely. It’s a grand love story, but not overly mushy or drawn out, that crosses time lines — one solidly rooted in the present and one in the past kindled by old photographs and antiques. It will leave you with a lot of questions in the end about what really happened but in a good way. I highly recommend it.