Friday, May 27, 2011

Review - Daughter of Time by Sarah Woodbury

Have you ever noticed that it's easier to review novels you don't like? I'm having a hard time deciding what to say about Sarah Woodbury's Daughter of Time simply because there's nothing much to criticize there. It's well-researched and well-written with characters you really grow to like and want good things for. Her depiction of medieval life is wonderful and accurate. I enjoyed seeing them from the eyes of a modern woman. It's too bad more writers don't write about the Middle Ages as they were instead of modernizing or apologizing for them.

At first, I had a hard time feeling a lot of sympathy for one of the main characters, Meg Lloyd. Yes, her husband just died, but he was an abusive jerk. Yet, she had stayed with him not only endangering herself but allowing her two-year-old daughter to witness the abuse. The excuse was that he was dying of cancer. I still couldn't quite sympathize--not with a small child involved, especially since it was long-standing abuse. At the same time, there was a certain disconnect. Meg didn't seem to be the kind of person who would have stayed in this kind of relationship, much less exposed her daughter to it.

However, as she showed her strength and courage as well as her determination to protect her daughter, Meg grew on me.

Anyhow... that put me off her a bit and the first chapter was really backstory establishing her fear of men and her Welsh antecedents. Then she has a car accident that propels her mysteriously into medieval Wales. This requires a suspension of disbelief since there is no immediate explanation at all of how this happens, but it's a time-travel novel, so I can do that.

The other main character is the historical Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last true Prince of Wales, after him the title being held by English usurpers. She does a wonderful job of bringing this hero of Wales to life without modernizing him. He is strong with plenty of sides to his character to make him believable, and the reader is immediately plunged into a two-fold struggle. He must hold his land for his people against a constant threat from his rapacious English neighbor as well as internal threats and, at the same time, deal with the mysterious appearance of Meg and her daughter, Anna.

This is an exceedingly dangerous time in Wales and the threats come from all directions. I won't spoil the story by telling what they are or how they work out. I can tell you that if you give the story a chapter or two to draw you in, you'll really enjoy this novel whether you enjoy historical novels or time-travel ones.

This is a Five Star novel on my rating system. Great job by the author!

You can buy Daughter of Time on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble for only $2.99. (I just noticed it's only $1.99 on Amazon!)

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