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Editorial Review: ChicklitClub.com by LEAH EGGLESTON KRYGOWSKI
Set in the year 2120, time traveller Dr Cassandra Reilly travels back to 19th century England in order to spend a year experiencing life during Jane Austen's time. As a wealthy American widow, Cassandra arrives at Sorrell Hall in Hampshire, ready to immerse herself in Regency life. She quickly adjusts to weekly baths, large, meat-filled meals, and obedient, yet cautious, servants. Her neighbours find her fascinating, and she soon feels as if she has indeed stepped into a Jane Austen novel as she is welcomed into her adopted community. All of her scientific preparations, however, cannot prepare her for the more emotional side of her journey when she meets a man who has the potential to be more than a friend... While I was fairly sceptical of a story set in the future involving time travel, I was intrigued by the aspect of going back in time to Jane Austen's England. The intricate details and well-crafted story had me hooked from the very beginning and I loved everything about this book. The combination of science and romance worked nicely as the science parts weren't too technical and the romance parts were more prominent. The Time Baroness is one of those books you can't put down but don't want to read too fast, wanting to stay in the story with all of the wonderful characters as long as possible. A definite must-read.
About the Author
I live in New York City, where things are always interesting, with my artist husband and musician son. I write The Time Mistress Series: romantic time-travel novels spiced with adventure. Titles include The Time Baroness, set in Jane Austen's England; The Time Heiress, staged in pre-Civil War New York City; and The Time Contessa, a journey to Renaissance Italy. I love to pose the question: If you could time-travel to any time and place in history, where would you go? Friend me on FB: Georgina Young-Ellis, or "like" The Time Baroness page and let me know!
I enjoy this author's books, and her approach in getting her main time characters there. it's a more complete way of entry into the time period and ability in exiting. Plus, an excellent historical fiction!!
I read this book in 2011 and then again in mid-2014. I remembered the premise but not all of the plot nor the ending.
WHAT I LIKED: I love time travel books because I enjoy reading how people who travel to the past have to use their wits to survive. Plus, it's always interesting to see how innocuous things we say and do can be construed as horrifying to those who lived before us. I enjoyed the premise of going from the future (about 100 years from now) into the past (about 200 years back). I liked how she solved problems with futuristic items, such as an insecticide powder that if blown into a room can keep a room bug-free for days.
Between my first reading and my second reading, I moved to Latin America. Being an American living in a foreign country, I enjoyed the book the second time around because I could relate to her feeling "out of place" and realized how much more she would feel it since she was also "out of time."
I'm not a historian, but I've read enough historical fiction to feel like this novel was accurately researched. It felt authentic for the time period. The writing meandered in a flowery fashion, but the slower pace felt right for this book.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE I would have given this book 4 stars, except that I didn't like the ending. It wasn't a satisfactory conclusion, and I felt cheated. The main character was a Jane Austen devotee, but it did not have an Austen-esque ending. After finishing the book, I realized why I had forgotten the ending in the 3-year period between readings (not something I do if I like a book). It's like eating a fast food heat-lamp burger when you really want a sizzling steak; your hunger may be alleviated but you don't feel satisfied.
The Time Baroness was an interesting book to me because it combined three of my favourite genres - science fiction, historical fiction and romance. I enjoyed reading about Cassandra and her travel back in time to experience life in Jane Austen's England. She isn't expecting to fall in love, but she does, and although the relationship is one Miss Austen herself wouldn't have approved of, there were only a couple of scenes that detailed sexual encounters, so there wasn't too much of it (I prefer fade-to-black). There was one particular thing about the story that really interested me. While there are many people who fantasize about returning to Austen's England, Cassandra finds it unbelievably dull and restrictive, especially when it comes to class distinctions, correct behaviours and making sure you don't upset anyone. She is far too modern in her ideas to fit in completely, so some of the locals are suspicious of her. There were a couple of elements in the story that I didn't like. For example, if people in the future have developed the ability to travel in time (especially since it's a recent development in Cassandra's time), are they really going use it to indulge someone in going back to do nothing more than experience Victorian England? This seemed a little bit of a stretch. Also, Cassandra enters into a serious relationship while always knowing she intends to leave when the allotted time for her stay is up. While affairs of the heart will often make us do things we wouldn't otherwise do, since this is in her mind all the time (especially when you consider how many lies she has to tell to keep the truth from being discovered), it gives a false note to the relationship, and made it difficult for me to warm to her character. However, the journey was still enjoyable and well written, apart from a bit of 'telling' rather than 'showing'. It certainly held my interest and I may well seek out other books in this series.
I enjoyed this take on time travel. Definite sci-fi. Mostly it is a romance novel. Scientist (PhD) Cassandra time travels to the past to experience Britain in the early 1800's. She is involved in the daily living of that time, of course as a wealthy independent widow. Learning to adjust to the changes from her very modern 2120 she bumbles around a bit. She focuses on her love of music, reading, and enjoying the beauty of the area and the food! While I found some of the romance part a bit soppy, the book is essentially well written. Well I did find three typos. Not bad considering this is decent length novel, and involves a couple of genres. Well done, and yes I will read the others. Looks like Cassandra has a habit of falling in love a lot. LOL
I just couldn't get through this book, which is highly unusual for me. While the concept was interesting, the story itself lacked interest. The main character quickly gets back in time, so we don't read about her struggles to time travel, or her extensive background research. Instead we quickly find ourselves in England of Jane Austin's time. And then, NOTHING HAPPENS. Really. Even the main character is bored - it says so right in the book. By the time the love interest is introduced, I don't care any more. Sorry. I tried, but I just couldn't finish it.
Although I felt the book was kind of slow, especially the beginning, I enjoyed this trip back to a simpler time. The author seemed to have done her homework. So far as I could tell the settings were pretty realistic.
But there was one glaring – yet totally unimportant - historical error. She mentions bloomers a number of times, though they wouldn't be developed for another 30 year. But because bloomers were so totally unimportant in the scheme of things, I didn’t take off for the error.
Unfortunately, when an obvious error appears, one tends to question the author’s research. Other than that, though, she hit upon a number of things I never would have thought of. Were contractions used in 1820? I have no idea, but bet they weren’t. Did Jane Austin have a niece? I’ll bet she did. As a historian and time travel writer myself, I have enough confidence in the author’s research abilities not to bother looking up the above two facts but to believe Mrs. Young-Ellis.