First Lines: Everyone in town knew the coffin was empty. I think that’s what packed the pews–the pure curiosity of the thing. They didn’t come for love or admiration. Nope. They came for the show.
When a book is billed as they YA version of Outlander, you have my attention. I mean, obviously there are going to be differences between the two (otherwise things get kinda weird), but the fact that there are similarities is pretty cool. And that author’s praise on the front cover is from Diana Gabaldon.
For Hope, losing her mom in an earthquake overseas is about the worst thing that can happen. Wracked with crippling phobias and no friends, it really is just about the end of the world for her. At the not-so-requesting request of her dad, she spends the summer on Scotland with an aunt she’s never met. There, she discovers that her mom was more than a scholar; she was a time traveler. And she’s trapped in the same time as Eleanor of Aquitaine with no way of getting home. Hope has seventy-two hours to get her mom and return to their own time. But once she’s there, Hope’s path crosses with a boy that could save her mission…or destroy it. Nothing will be exactly what it seems.
So, pretty much the only thing that this book has in common with Outlander is the fact that it deals with time travel and that it takes place (at least partly) in Scotland. Oh, and maybe the sword fights. But who doesn’t love a good sword fight? Anyway, that wasn’t a bad thing that the two were so different. Like I said, it would be pretty weird if they were literally the same story.
I thought Hope was a pretty good lead for this story. She has an eidetic (photographic) memory and can repeat back to you literally everything she’s ever read. (Kind of convenient for time traveling, right? Sometimes, maybe a little too convenient.) She does have a lot of fears, but it was nice to watch her overcome them. And she’s funny. Oh my gosh, her voice shines through in this and I loved it. She had this comment once that was like, “This room better not hold the cannibal cousin. It’s too early for this.” I giggled.
But, as with any good character, there are also some things that weren’t always great. Hope’s backstory seems a little…too contrived, I guess. Like there is literally no reason for her to stay in the US after her mom dies. No friends, dad’s family hates her, dad’s going on a cruise…I mean really. I know she had to have a catalyst, but that was a little ridiculous.
The minor characters were pretty cool too. A few of the almost-major characters felt a bit flat to me, but others were really cool. Like Eleanor of Aquitaine. I liked her. A lot.
The plot drives along pretty well. The beginning is a lot of Hope trying to figure out what’s going on, but after that it picks up. There were some surprise twists along the way, and a few twists that weren’t quite as surprising. But whether I was expecting them or not didn’t change my enjoyment.
Oh, and I loved the history of this. It’s rare to see historical fictions willing to go back 1000 years in time, much less to see them focus on strong female historical figures. We need more books like this.
I really enjoyed this. Yes, it’s a lot of fluff and sometimes a little hard to buy into the story. (I saw a lot of reviews that called this cliche, which isn’t wrong.) But it’s fun.