In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.
First of all, let’s appreciate this cover. Isn’t it amazing? I enjoy looking at pretty books as much as the next person but I don’t normally base my choice of books on the cover alone. As soon as I saw this cover, I knew that I wanted to read the book. It got even better after I heard what it was about.
In short: Pirates and Time Travel.. ooooooeeeeeeh… admit it, you’re intrigued.
A bit longer: Etta lives in New York and is a violin protegé ready to make her debut. But before the big night arrives she is swept away into the past. More specifically to the year 1776. There she meets Nicholas, a privateer (just say pirate whether he wants to be or not) who is tasked with bringing her to the family patriarch.
Etta learns that she is a (time) traveller and that she has to find a relic before she can even dream of going back to her own time.
I really, really enjoyed this book. It was fun and adventurous and because of the attention to detail, I could imagine myself in the different places and times. This kind of world building is a triumph. It all fits together perfectly and I never felt like the amount of detail was slowing the story down (which sometimes happens, it’s a delicate balance to keep).
The build up to this story is great. You start off slowly and discover the rules along with Etta. It’s actually fun to not be in the loop all the time. You figure the important stuff out with Etta and fill in the gaps with Nicholas and Sophia, who know more about what’s going on.
The other thing that spoke out to me was the disadvantages both main characters had to face. Nicholas is a man of colour and history does not treat him kindly. Etta is a woman who’s used to living with the present day victories like actually having an opinion and being able to share it. But when you’re stuck in the past, this quickly feels like a distant memory. White men rule the world and they don’t share their spotlight.
I thought the comments on these disadvantages were painfully accurate and I applaud Alexandra Bracken for the way she adopted them into her story. It never became a pity party, these are two strong characters who deal with their setbacks.
The part where Etta tells Sophia about the right for women to vote is another great example.
Why did I not give this book full marks? The romance. Although I did enjoy it at the time, it was a bit to instant lovey. This is going to be a duology, there could have been a much slower development. It’s cute, but it’s not realistic. This book takes place over a couple of weeks and they are madly in love after only a couple of days. But once again, it was cute and it made me feel all warm and fluffy inside 😉 just saying, it could have been even better.
Overall, I thought it was an excellent book! Now I just have to wait and see when the next book will come out. I’ll definitely pick it up when it does.
If you’re looking for a fun, quick and adventurous story with some lovey dovey parts thrown in, you should read this one!
Let me know when you do.