Zachary Smith is a well-known architect who has recently quit his job to work on an ancient medieval cottage and castle. He is really looking forward to restoring Wyckham to its former glory. Zachary doesn’t expect to find four ghostly ancestors waiting for him in the drawing room of the castle when he arrives and he isn’t sure if they are there to help or to hinder his progress. Zachary had made a vow to avoid all paranormal experiences including ghosts and time travel. Unfortunately, that night as he roams a friend’s castle, Zachary finds himself transported to 1258 where he meets the girl of his dreams. Now he must decide whether or not to violate the code of leaving no footprints.
Mary de Piaget lives at Artane, her family’s castle in England in the year 1258. She is 27 years old and knows that it won’t be much longer before her father forces her to marry someone. She just hopes it won’t be Geoffrey of Styrr. Mary thought she had dissuaded him from his pursuit of her the last time they met, but he has now arrived at Artane and sees determined to have her as her wife. She tries to convince her father that Geoffrey is evil, but he doesn’t seem to see what she sees. Mary’s last home is the stranger Zachary who just appeared in their keep. She just needs to convince him and keep her own attraction under wraps until he takes her far away from Artane.
This is the first time travel book that I have read by Ms. Kurland and I will admit that the book took some adjusting. The story starts with ghosts discussing their descendants and the relationships between all of the characters are unclear. Then Zachary’s story starts and he too refers to things from previous books which I had no knowledge of. I was terribly confused and not sure that I would be able to finish reading the book without some clarification. And then by the third chapter everything starts to fall into place. Ms. Kurland begins to focus on the development of the relationship between Zachary and Mary and the background knowledge becomes unnecessary. It was at this point that I truly started to enjoy the tale of Zachary and Mary. So don’t be discouraged is this is your first experience with Ms. Kurland and her time traveling Scots.
Ms. Kurland provides a wonderful historical context for her novel. She shows us what life was like for the nobility in medieval England and how families worked. Her depiction of Mary’s relationship with her parents, although unusual for the time, provides the contrast which what life was like for women in the 13th century. The details of the time period are nicely blended into the story so that you don’t feel as though you are reading a textbook.
The time traveling elements of the story require a leap of faith by the reader that they really can happen. Having a whole family who time travels and accepts that some of their members are from different time periods works for Ms. Kurland. It definitely added an element of suspense as I anxiously waited to see what would happen to Zachary and Mary. Would he risk the future for his love? Would their relationship alter the future? Would they stay in the past or journey forward? Fortunately all the questions are answered.