I haven’t read a time travel book in forever. Maybe because I assumed they all involved Scottish Highlanders, and with the exception of Outlander’s sweet young virgin, I picture all Highlanders as big tough alpha roar!smash types. That’s not for me. But this book has a modern woman traveling back to the Regency era, and I am all about historicals, so I gave it a shot.
Sarah Baxter is the archeologist heroine in question. Her job involves traveling to the past for non-nefarious research reasons, or something. On one trip, she accidentally leaves behind a piece of equipment. She has to retrieve it because, you know, anomalies. During her retrieval mission (which is actually a stealing-it-from-the-guy-who-collects-oddities mission), she’s involved in a rainy horse crash which results in an earl’s death. And she loses the Important Object.
Eric, Lord Earnston, is that dead guy’s twin brother who has now inherited the earldom. He carries the Important Object around in his coat so that, when the mysterious woman who killed his brother comes looking for it, he can turn her over to the police for a sentence of imminent death.
Sarah and her partner in time travel, Richard, head back about a year later. They pose as a brother and sister who lived in Rome until their parents died, so now they’re in London to crash ton parties. The ton, so fickle in other books, is very welcoming to these strangers with no actual pedigree. After a few waltzes, Eric decides that Sarah is, you know, Not Like Other Women, so he quickly falls in love with her.
I had certain expectations for this book that were not met. I expected Sarah to comment on the differences between the time periods, maybe long for a hot shower or pizza delivery. Or wonder about class differences and how lucky she was to fit in with the swells instead of having to masquerade as a kitchen maid. But no. She did not strike me as a modern heroine at all. When she was speaking with Richard in private, she said, “What if his lordship forms a tendre for me?” The correct pronunciation would have been, “What if Eric starts to like me?” If I wasn’t told that she was a time traveler, I would not have suspected that she was a time traveler.
Speaking of time travel, that was all just brushed over. It’s kind of a short book, so I can understand not wanting to get bogged down in technicalities. Still, absolutely nothing is spelled out. Not what Sarah does, or why, or the method of time travel, or even what the Important Object does. The only thing we’re told is that, for every year in the past, a week passes in the future.
I had other problems with this book. Sarah describes Eric as a Regency rake more than once, when we don’t know anything about a womanizing past and he seems to fall for Sarah and give up his alleged wicked ways in quick fashion. I think Sarah was stereotyping, don’t you? She seems to fall for him because he gives her attention and thinks she’s cool, unlike modern men who either run screaming when they find out she’s a “boring archeologist” or who are themselves so boring that she can barely stay awake through dinner. Again with the stereotyping.
Eric doesn’t get much to do other than fall for Sarah and vow revenge. Oh, and avoid his mother and his dead brother’s fiancée because they’re evil and scheming. He impressed me with his sudden devotion to Sarah. Then he lost me. When Sarah reveals that she’s a time traveler and also the woman responsible for his brother’s death, Eric bursts into anger and assumes he was used. Then he asks how many men she’s slept with to get what she wants, and he slut shames her for not being a virgin. “I should have known…You were very apt in your lovemaking.” Not cool, Eric the alleged rake. Not cool.
At least I believed in the happy ending.
*ARC provided by Entangled
Click to purchase: Amazon
A Stolen Season
by Tamara Gill
Release Date: February 23, 2015