This is a book I highly recommend for lovers of historical romance who like their romance to fit into a story of adventure, action, mystery and…time travel.
This was a good read, more in the style of historical romance than fantasy adventure, which is what I imagined it would be. I mistakenly thought Grace was a teenager to begin with, and found her relationship with Miles a little bit disturbing until I realised she was in fact much older. Once that point was cleared up I found Grace a great character, strong, but not brainlessly spunky. She is consistent in the way she behaves and sticks to her guns throughout.
Miles is a perfect mate, good to look at and with an air of mystery about him that keeps him from being a cardboard cut out knight in shining armour. The descriptions of the wintry forest are very convincing, and I had no difficulty visualising the scenes. The action is circumscribed and the cast of characters is limited so the reader’s attention is concentrated on a small area, more like a theatre production than a film. Put me in mind of Robert Bolt’s The Lion in Winter.
The period details are well researched creating a convincing slice of life in Norman England. The language is well chosen and the dialogues are convincing, even though the one flaw for me in this piece of writing was the language. It was always going to be a problem, the moment you have a woman from the 21st century landing in 13th century England—Miles and Grace wouldn’t have been able to understand one another. Miles would have spoken Norman French, quite different from modern French, and Edmund and the English characters would have spoken Early Middle English.
That said, language is a hobbyhorse of mine, so my problem, and who wants to read a story written in Middle English anyway? I probably wouldn’t have even thought of it if Grace hadn’t drawn attention to the fact in her first efforts at conversation with Miles and Edmund.
The story ends in a cliff hanger, it’s true, but I didn’t find that a let-down. It’s obvious there’s a sequel, and the final chapters of the story create quite enough drama and leave quite enough loose ends to make the reader immediately start searching the Internet for the next installment.