I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is March 1, 2016.
When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope s undoing.
Wow. If you had told me after the first couple of chapters of this book that I would love it, I would have probably called you crazy. Now, the beginning was interesting but was it engrossing? No. In fact, it kind of bored me a bit and I just found the story dragging. First of all, I don't get Hope's dad. Nope, didn't like him at all. His wife disappeared seven months prior to the start of the book, but they never found her body. Now Hope and her dad must accept that her mom is gone. The book opens with her funeral. Hope's dad already has a girlfriend, which okay, I am not going to judge for that one. But IMMEDIATELY after the funeral, her dad makes arrangements to ship Hope to Scotland to meet relatives of her mom's that she has never met so that he and his girlfriend can go on a cruise to Alaska. Really?? Who does that?!? That was so cold. Hope was adopted prior to her mom marrying her dad and her dad's mom was AWFUL. Seriously, Hope was a member of their family for more than ten years and apparently she hated her for some reason. Hated that too.
Anyway, it was all an excuse to get Hope to Scotland and that's fine because I LOVE SCOTLAND!! The Scottish Highlands are so beautiful and the imagery that the author created did not disappoint. I am just a bit disappointed that more of the story did not take place there. After what seems like an eternity, Hope learns about her family history of going back in time and FINALLY, we can get to the action. But eh, not so much. There is a lot of training and science and history lessons and blah, blah, blah.
But then they got to twelfth century London and oh, I was so hooked. I absolutely love London and I loved the imagery of how the city looked back in those days. And man, Janet Taylor did her research! Everything, from the foods they ate to the language they used to their attitudes towards women to the lack of something simple like napkins, was just so rich with detail.
Hope irritated me a bit at the beginning, just because she was afraid of everything. But she also suffered from debilitating migraines and I can relate to that, so I still loved her. And man, she grew SO MUCH!! She became so brave and so fearless. And how much do I want her photographic memory?? That was awesome. The people she went to London with, Collum and Phoebe, grew on me too. Phoebe was just so cheerful and optimistic and it was contagious. Collum was dour and serious, but still had a sense of humor at times. There were times when I just laughed out loud at some of their banter and their conversations. Then there was Bran, Hope's love interest. He was boring at first, but then he grew on me too. Luckily, there was no insta love, just some insta lust. I could handle that. Things got a little too intense for my tastes, but I still loved their relationship. There was something about Bran (no spoilers!) that I saw coming from the very beginning, but there were also a lot of twists and turns in this book. I swear, I just could not put the book down for the last hundred pages or so because there was just so much action. There were so many people to love and so many people to hate.
If you like time travel books, give this one a chance! It was so good! The ending was not a total cliffhanger, but it was open ended. The sequel will (hopefully) be out in 2017 and I can't wait!
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one. Yes, the beginning is slow. But it picks up and it becomes something great!