Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review: Seasons in the Mist by Deborah Kinnard

Seasons in the Mist by Deborah Kinnard
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Christian Themes
Pages: 324
Date Published: April 2010
Publisher: Sheaf House
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Book description (from publisher):
Bethany Lindstrom, a graduate student in history, wants the same things as any ambitious historian: worldwide academic recognition, a series of brilliant papers, and a reputation that places her in the front ranks of her peers. She's well on the way to achieving her goals when her trip to the U.K. to work on a dig at Oxford goes awry from the moment she lands at Heathrow. A missing taxi, and enigmatic acquaintance, and an unplanned trip to Cornwall form no part of her plans. Then, as she wanders around her hostess's ancient home, searching for history, she stumbles through an unseen portal to the fourteenth century.
Stranded in 1353 Cornwall, Bethany must find a way back home or face a life of falsehoods and peril. But with the stern overlord Sir Michael Veryan, she is swept into the dangerous intrigues of King Edward's court, which will test their mettle and their faith in God to the limits—and forever bind their lives together.
Oh, my gosh, this was such a fun read! I picked it up one Saturday afternoon and could not put it down until I was finished late that night. Where do I start in explaining how much I enjoyed this book? Let's start with the main character: Bethany is one of those strong female characters that I really enjoy reading about. She is a graduate student in history--something I was not so very long ago--so right away I felt a certain rapport with the character. What lover of history has not fantasized about what it would be like to live in the past? Sure, most of us would prefer to have the modern conveniences and legal rights accorded to us today, but it's fun to imagine, isn't it?

This book transports not just Bethany but the reader back in time to medieval Cornwall, where she must blend in until she can find a way home. As a Christian, she must come to terms with the fact that God has placed her in that place for a reason, and perhaps He means for her to stay. As she becomes more and more comfortable with her surroundings, her position, and the man who has her under his care, she begins to wonder if she really wants to return to the twenty-first century.

I thought this was an interesting and unusual work of Christian fiction. I don't think I've ever read a Christian novel containing time travel before (but I suppose it isn't that strange of a concept since The Chronicles of Narnia transports the characters to a different world and a different time period in that world with each jump). This book was especially fun because Bethany, an educated and opinionated modern woman, had to try to fit into a world where women were not expected to be educated or outspoken. I loved getting such a close look at the little everyday details of medieval life (well, upper-class medieval life anyway), and there was an element of suspense to it all. Would she be transported back to her own time? Would someone discover who she was and declare her a witch? Would her claim of being an amnesiac be accepted or would Lord Michael throw her out on the street to fend for herself? You never quite knew what the outcome would be until the very last pages. Finally, I also enjoyed seeing how Bethany grew in her faith even in such an unexpected and bewildering experience and grew to desire a different life than the empty, fame-seeking one she left behind in the modern world.

This was a great read! Best of all, it appears to be the first book of a series (Seasons of Destiny), so we will hopefully be reading more of Bethany and Michael's adventures in the future! I happily recommend Seasons in the Mist to fans of historical fiction and readers who like stories involving time travel.

Source: A thousand thank-yous to Joan at Sheaf House for sending me this book for review. She thought I would like it and she was so right!

Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Challenge, Christian Historical Fiction Challenge, Medieval Reading Challenge


CymLowell

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