After finishing a disappointing time-travel romance, I needed a palate cleanser. I still was in a time-travel state of mind so I wandered through my huge To-Be-Read pile and found this.
The summary intrigued me. First off, pre-English conquest Wales is not your typical time-travel stop. Scottish Highlands? They’re positively swarming with women from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Pre-Civil-War South? Same. Tudor England? Definitely has its fair share. Heck, even the World Wars are stuffed chock full of temporally misplaced heroines. So that was definitely in the plus column. Another plus? Said heroine’s toddler daughter comes along with her. Color me surprised. And she apparently serves a purpose…although she’s a little too precocious for a two and a half year old. The third and final plus was the hero, Prince Llewelyn of Wales. In most historical time-romps you get a made up title or person; sure the character will interact with historical-domain characters, but having them be the hero? Ballsy.
I wasn’t disappointed.
I fell in love with Meg, a beaten but not broken woman who was determined to survive no matter the odds. She was fun, intelligent, and strong in all the right ways. Sure, she couldn’t swing a sword, but she didn’t expect the hero to save her either. She also knew her history but wasn’t sure how her being there would affect the time stream. Was it a closed loop? Parallel Universe? She didn’t know. She didn’t angst about it too much… there was some… as there should be in all time travel stories, but there wasn’t so much that it became annoying.
I also loved - LOVED - that the hero couldn’t understand her English and she couldn’t understand his. As I said before, you have to accept certain things… like if your hero/heroine is traveling 400 years or more into the past but only speaks English that either the force that sent them back dealt with that problem or they’re going to have a failure to communicate.
I’ve mentioned the Great English Vowel Shift before. It started in the late 1300s but didn’t really solidify until 1700. The largest shift took place between 1500 and 1650. It’s why if you hear Chaucer performed you’d have trouble understanding it and it’s why Shakespeare doesn’t rhyme anymore. It did.
Take sonnet 116 (known as the marriage sonnet):
Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove.
The “love” and “remove” used to rhyme.
In Daughter of Time, there is no magical translator. The heroine has to find a way to communicate, and she does. Through poorly remembered Welsh (which her mother is Welsh) and French. Both languages that didn’t go through the same pronunciation shift.
I know. I’m geeking out over language. But that stylistic choice sets the tone of the whole novel.
The thing has been meticulously researched. There are points where the action moves quickly… but then you realize the author is merely trying to keep up with the history. Because seriously, the history was fast moving during this time.
You have to give Llewelyn props, he manages to woo the fair lady and defend his realm from internal and external machinations.
As in all time-travel, there’s always the moment of “how to tell the truth of my past.” In some ways, it’s the core conflict. Here, it’s handled in a refreshing way. Like seriously refreshing. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that it makes perfect sense in context.
Ultimately, I was really satisfied with this book and I stayed up all night reading it.
But I need to level with you… there’s a lot of history and political stuff going on in here. If that’s not your bag, this won’t be for you.
This book is a prequel, a set up, for a larger series that dives into Alternate History. It stands on its own, but the ending is kind of a foregone conclusion. In addition, this book only features closed-door sex scenes. The main audience of the series is Teens/Young Adults, so if you’re looking for smut, skip this.
That being said, I really loved this book. It was just the book I needed at the time I needed it.
I’m likely to check out the next book in the series, which means that the prequel did its job.
And one other bonus… the book is FREE!
In all I give this book
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