Setting: England, 1390, and contemporary British Columbia
In 1390 England, Viviane is imprisoned for practicing witchcraft. Confident that the archbishop will believe her denial, she is stunned when she's led to the executioner without a hearing. Deeply disturbed by the young woman's fate, Sir Niall of Mallory grants Viviane's wish to hold her father's moonstone one last time. To his shock, the beautiful young woman disappears in a flash of bright light, leaving nothing but the moonstone behind.
Viviane finds herself on an island in British Columbia in 1999--but she believes that she's been transported to the legendary Avalon. Meanwhile, back in 1390, Niall swears to do his duty and recover Viviane. While retracing her actions, he triggers the moonstone and follows her across time. Unfortunately for Niall, Viviane happens to be onboard a boat and he lands in the water, his chain mail weighting him like an anchor. Rescued in the nick of time, Niall soon finds himself falling in love with Viviane, who believes that he's her knight in shining armor. The two lovers have a difficult path to happiness, however, for the evil archbishop has plans for them back in 1390 and they'll have to foil a dastardly plot and travel across time more than once in their struggle to live happily ever after. --Lois Faye Dyer
Moonstone begins in North Britain in September, 1390. Sir Niall of Mallory is a twenty-eight year old wounded knight who now works for the Archbishop's court. Niall has to escort a woman accused of witchcraft to her execution, and obviously isn't too excited about it. Ever since he hurt his knee, he feels himself less a man working in the dungeons rather then fighting as a knight, but he has to support his sister Majella and her seven children. When he goes to the condemned woman's cell he finds a very pretty "witch" with auburn hair named Viviane. Surprisingly, due the circumstances, Viviane is very friendly and cheerful despite the future (possibly a short one) she has in front of her. Viviane is not a witch and plans to clarify the misunderstanding with the archbishop as soon as she can and therefore doesn't plan to die. Viviane has the confidence of knowing that her mother had the sight and sent her to the archbishop, so using Viviane's logic, no harm will come to her. Viviane also wears a blue stone pendant -"the blue of the moon", a present from her father on her birth, which is supposed to help her when she needs it. Once Viviane realizes that she will not be given an audience with the Bishop she wishes herself as far away as possible using the moonstone, and she disappears from Niall's sight, leaving the stone on the dungeon's floor. When her "travel" is done, she finds herself in what she believes to be the mystical land of Avalon based on the bounty of the apples on trees. Very quickly she comes upon a man wearing shorts, a T-shirt and a fleece vest. She thinks that he must be magical, a sorcerer, and he thinks she must be from the group of reinactors that are on the island. In truth Viviane has traveled to the Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia, just over six hundred years into the future. Niall meanwhile is shamed at having allowed the "witch" to escape and he has a mission to search her out to face her fate, or die trying. Luckily he has the moonstone and he uses it to transport himself to Viviane. Suddenly there are two people trying to fathom the complexities of the 1990s, and people from the 1990's trying to fathom these two from the 1390s. And what effect has all this time travel had on the past and present? You thought dating in the nineties hard? Try dating in the 1990s with the morals and rules of the 1390s. Claire Cross has a great sense of humour and it shines in this book. (The funniest scene in the book is Viviane's nude seduction of Niall who ignores her completely in favour of the mechanics of the toilet.) The author's mindset lets her see the smallest thing that we just take for granted. Many time-travels have the traveler fitting into the new time with apparent ease, but Claire uses the changes and faux pas to strengthen her characters and make them more human. I think that Niall is the sexiest of Claire Cross' male characters. I think it's his lack of awareness-and the obvious awareness-of the women around him that make Niall so appealing. There is great sexual tension between the characters too, which entertains on a few levels. Speaking of sex, you'll never be able to see rubber boots again without thinking of this book! This is now my favourite of Claire Cross' time-travels, but I know this declaration may only last till the next one. Do yourself a favour and pick up this book, put a day aside and enjoy! The best time travel I have ever read! Claire Cross has such amazing talent! Her characters are vivid, her plots exciting and her books a delight! Moonstone is full of romance and humour. Who could ask for more? Michelle Sawyer -- Copyright © 1999 Literary Times, Inc. All rights reserved -- From Literary Times
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