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A Rip in the Veil (The Graham Saga Book 1) Kindle Edition
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From the first pages, we know that Alex Lind is very much a contemporary woman, the kind who carries a cell phone, wears denim jeans and dares to swear at her German car when its electrical systems dares fails in the middle of one of her favorite classical CDs. Then she finds herself caught up in an anomaly that lands her in rural seventeenth century Scotland and into the already stressed life of Matthew Graham. Just another time slip novel, you say? Definitely not. This cross-genre gem is a well researched, skillfully constructed and brilliantly written tale with the strength to draw the reader in, not just to the final page, but well beyond The rip in the veil of time that leaves Alex in Scotland is just the beginning, and its' pages leave the reader salivating for the next installment, and then the next on after that. Each exquisite segment in the adventure of Alex and Matthew stands on its own merit, but the promise of more is as seductive as a cleavage or a mischievous smile from across a crowded room Ms. Belfrage gives us just enough of the back-story of each Alex and Matthew to hint of what will be coming next, and just enough of a glimpse into the lives each of them has left behind to know that the characters from their pasts are not frozen in time. Life for them is also evolving and perhaps on a collision course with Alex and Matthew Graham. We also revisit the troubles of the past of each and we learn, just as they do, that neither of them is perfect. Anna has left a child behind with whom she has never bonded, and Matthew has never been able to take part in the life of his own son. He has made an enemy of a brother who had worshipped him as his champion when a child and could not forgive him for his mortal failings. Alex and Matthew have myriad family issues hanging over them.
It does not help that whenever Matthew attempts to act as Alex's defender and champion, she is the one who knows the karate moves. (Anna Belfrage writes action scenes like a Taekwondo Black Belt). It seems that not all of the men who are tracking them are looking for Matthew, and that Alex may not be the only time traveler in the tale. At this point we learn that her mother Mercedes, of whom we get occasional glimpses in the first two books of the series, is a time traveling witch who has offended some very evil men who have no qualms about torturing her daughter in order to catch up with her mother. I hope we see much more of Mercedes in the next offerings. But Matthew does not need time traveling kidnappers and assassins to complicate his own life. Thanks to his unforgiving brother Luke, he has a passel of problems of his own. Luke has planted false evidence of Matthew's death and taken Matthew's wife, and they are raising a child whose paternity is far from settled. In spite of the advantages he has taken, he still bears a grudge and has no inclination to play by any rules but his. The twists in the plot that follow would be utterly bizarre if constructed by a less talented writer or one who did not spend time researching the historical setting. The love affair between Alex and Matthew is predictable, but the complications that come with it are unique. And the steamy sex between them is scintillating but not offensive.
Never once does Ms.Belfrage forget that she has pitted a liberated 21st Century woman with the quintessential 17th Century Scot. As the story progresses, Alex grows less and less anxious to escape Matthew's timeline, but there are still times when her remembered present pulls her back. She may tuck her hair into a modest little cap, learn to do the laundry and tend the farm animals, but she is still very much the same progressive and opinionated woman that time has deposited in Restoration Scotland. One of my favorite exchanges between them is when he teasingly compliments her for being a good wife, "obedient and submissive. You tend to your husband and his needs....I never have to punish you," he continues. "You try, mister, try that once, and I'll have your balls in a vice," Alex replies. While Rip in the Veil remains very much Alex and Matthew's story, the other characters who populate its pages enrich the tale and have a reason to be in it. The author's multicultural, multifaceted background shines through and allows her to interject characters that a more insulated author should never try. Even the worst of the villains Hector and Luke are depicted with integrity and purpose and at least a sprinkling of empathy.
One of the many features that makes A Rip in the Veil a hands-down five star reading experience is an ending that satisfies yet guarantees that there is much, much more to come. I have recommended the books in the Graham Saga to my most discerning friends.
I found this book a real delight. It's the first in a trilogy, and I certainly look forward to the next two. The plot centres around time switch/time travel and that's a theme I love, (it constitutes the storyline of my own first novel FAIR WEATHER) so I was prepared for a fun read, and that's exactly what I got. This is not a book which pretends to be great literature, nor great writing with a multi-layered or deeply heavy plot. It is an easy and pleasurable read with some fascinating characters and plenty of action. The time travel (unlike some other time switch novels) is not only an integral part of the story, but has several interesting and unusual twists, making for a far more dramatic and interesting theme than some simply sporadic and meaningless hop into the past.
I found Matthew, the hero, deliciously tantalising and very believable for his time-period (early 17th century Scotland - an era which I have read holds particular meaning for the author) although I was not quite so keen on the heroine, Alex, who is the principal protagonist. She is well characterised and believable, but sometimes seemed carelessly impatient with her amazingly unexpected new existence and at first exerted little imagination on the probable difficulties of a man faced with a woman born three centuries after himself. But then of course, poor Alex is not having an easy time of it either.
There is a wide cast of characters and all are absorbing, making for a book which pulls you in, an adventure which intrigues, and an atmospheric presentation of a very different time in history. There are places where I would have enjoyed more insight and detail, and places where I could have accepted a little less, but on the whole this is a very well told story and my attention was held throughout.
It is not a book I willingly put down but then I became rather ill shortly after starting and could not read anything for some time. Getting back to Alex and Matthew was something I continued to look forward to. Once I joined them again, I was not disappointed. This is a book I would call good unashamed fun.