This book was so good! I’ve had my eye on it for a while. I kept almost buying the hard cover version in bookstores, but then changing my mind. I hated the original cover. But, when I saw this cover of the paperback version, I knew it was time to buy this. Really, it’s a gorgeous cover with a distorted version of London in the background. Also, the publishing company has never really done the story justice on the back and or side flap of the book. It’s so much better than they describe it to be.
I seriously read this in one sitting. It’s about Gwen, a girl who grows up relatively normal in a family of special. I’ve never read about time travel in this way before. There’s a gene that the girls in Gwen’s family can have that will allow them to time travel. And it’s been determined early on that the new generation of time travel will be inherited in Gwen’s cousin, Charlotte, who happened to be born on the right day to inherit the abilities. Charlotte has been the special one, attending secret meetings, training in sword-fighting and horseback riding, and overall just having a really unique and planned out childhood. And Gwen has been able to spend her time with her best friend, Lesley doing normal teen things.
As tends to happen in these YA books though, it’s not Charlotte who actually ends up having the gene. Apparently, Gwen’s mother lied about her birthday in order to let Gwen have a normal, safer, more carefree childhood. And also, she secretly hoped that Charlotte would be the one to carry the gene because she really didn’t want her daughter to have to go through so much. Well, as it turns out, Gwen ends up going back in time several times with no preparation or training to help her, which is actually really dangerous. She also has a hard time breaking it to her family, who have all been anxiously awaiting Charlotte’s first time travel.
The scene where Gwen’s aunt first sees that Charlotte (her daughter) is not the designated time traveler is priceless! Of course, Gwen is not as obedient as Charlotte either. For starters, she’s been listening behind doors since she could walk –to learn as much as she could about her eccentric family who never talk about their abilities. And she’s told her best friend, Lesley all about everything her family can do (including information about one relative who can see into the future). She’s not supposed to share this knowledge with the world. She also has not memorized entire chunks of history. She has no idea how to use a sword. And she has this thing where she always thinks for herself.
Gwen’s assigned time traveling partner, the handsome Gideon, quickly learns all these things about Gwen when they first travel together. However, nothing is as simple as Gwen is told it will be when she is finally briefed on how to behave. There’s a secret society, a creepy sounding rhyme that prophesizes a lot more power to come, plenty of historical facts thrown around, historical wardrobe changes, and so many rules about what you can take with you and what you are not allowed to change. Also, it doesn’t help that Gwen has some family members that have stolen some important time traveling machinery and gone back to an indeterminable time period with it.
Everyone wants the missing device. And everyone wants to fulfill the rhyme/prophecy. People are willing to die to make sure it happens (or doesn’t happen). There’s sword fights, carriage chases, fancy ball gowns, conversations with great great great relatives, there’s magic, and there’s a lot of growing up and learning to trust your instincts too.
I loved Gideon! So much sass for a boy! I hated Charlotte just enough. And I absolutely loved Lesley, the super smart best friend. I thought Gwen’s family made the whole book so entertaining! I loved all the secrecy, all the family mystery, and all the suspense about the stolen artifact!
The author had the magical ability to keep my interest just as much in the “normal” teen school scenes as she did in the scenes that took place in history. Really, I loved every second of this book. It was an easy/fluffy read, but easy/fluffy in all the right ways. My only complaint is that I wish the action started a little earlier. There was a lot of the typical needing to really accept that magical things were actually happening moments. And frankly, Gwen had been around her family too long to ever doubt what was happening to her, particularly for so long a time.
Other than that though, it was pure fun. I give it a 9/10, and I am so excited for the sequel to come out!