I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review, courtesy of the Revell Reads program. Although I was interested in the storyline, I opted not to finish the book. The Lord has given me passion for purity, and I felt that it would not be beneficial for me to continue reading the book, based on the nature of the romantic content. However, I will give a thoughtful and honest review of what I did read, which was close to 60% of the novel.
Past and present mingle in this historical fiction science fiction novel. When Marian’s conspiracy-chasing father, Arthur, falls into a coma while on the trail of a cure for his late wife’s ailment, Marian follows up on his lead. Soon, she finds herself straddling the present time and the Middle Ages as she works to save her family.
The first third of the novel is written from a third-person limited voice, from the perspective of a pharmacologist named Marian. Marian, who describes herself as being “married to her work,” strives to find a cure for her sister’s illness, while also resenting that her father places his own life’s work, finding a cure for his late wife’s sickness, above his present life and family members. Marian has a deep respect for her sister, Ellen, who has committed her life to serving others. She is also good friends (and insists on maintaining friendship only) with a coworker named Jasper. Harrison, another significant character, is a longtime family friend who takes Marian under his wing.
The second third of the book introduces the perspective of Will, a 14th-century English lord, as well as a widower. After sharing some very abnormal experiences, Will and Marian strike a fast romance.
Next to allegory, time travel is one of my favorite themes— not so much because of the historical settings, but because I enjoy reading about philosophies of time, embedded in fiction. I think one of my favorite parts of the book was the discussion of time. I also felt that the author did a good job integrating the time periods by using a shared geographical point.
Additionally, I felt that discussions of scientific matter were handled well, not “dumbed down” for the reader. (When material is oversimplified, I’m more inclined to wonder whether the author understands what she is describing.)
Why I Didn’t Finish
As alluded to in the earlier disclaimer, the treatment of romance was a bit too graphic for me. While I am glad that the author portrayed (most) romantic expressions within the context of marriage, I still felt that the descriptions were excessive and too intense. I stopped reading to protect my heart.
Additionally, I felt very uncomfortable with Will’s passionate internal dialogue, as well as treatments of his behaviors as a romantic partner. Will’s actions were described as forceful, and I found his internal monologues rather disturbing. From what I had read so far, the narrative felt like a positive description of experiences that felt almost like assault.
While the plot was interesting and I would have liked to see how the novel ended, the romance was a bit overwhelming for me. I say this as an umarried young woman with a very conservative view of purity. This isn’t a book I would recommend.