Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
I first started reading this novel back when it first came out, but for some reason couldn’t get into it at the time. This time was completely different! I LOVED this book, besides the obvious annoyance with the “girl can’t help but fall in love with the douchebag boy” plot point, but I got past that. So. Gwenyth. She’s kind of an empty-headed girl, does an average job in school, loves movies and celebrities and not much else. She has a best girlfriend named Lesley, and she’s awesome too, and it was really nice to see a supportive teen friendship between two girls that doesn’t revolve around boys. Charlotte is Gwenyth’s cousin, her fate as a time traveler predicted by Sir Isaac Newton back in the day, and she’s Gwen’s opposite in every way. She’s a bit of an ice queen, very pretty, very good in school, and she’s been training for time travel her entire life. Which is why Charlotte is pretty devastated when it comes out that Gwen’s mom lied about her date of birth, and Gwen is really the one with the time travel gene. Gideon is the douche. He’s hot and everything this trope requires, but I sort of forgave him because nineteen year olds tend to be dicks universally, and he’s very full of himself for having completed a large part of the mission the Guardians are currently working. Gwenyth is also kind of dumb. I’m sorry, I don’t like calling people stupid, but she kind of is. She’s a flighty, silly thing who can’t remember words spoken thirty seconds in the past, so Gideon kind of had reason to be annoyed with her. She certainly didn’t seem capable of anything at first. Gwenyth’s mother is also very against Gwen’s time traveling, to the point of keeping secrets and just issuing cryptic warnings. I got tired of her, because we know Gwen is going to time travel and her mother’s objections would mean nothing.
The only part of the story I thought was slow was the beginning when Gwen is randomly time traveling and not telling anyone. It took awhile for her to tell her mother, or to even admit it was happening at all. Once she joins the Guardians and her mom finally leaves, the story really gets going. Something is wrong in the past, and time travelers thought lost emerge. The Guardians appear to be on a sinister mission, and there are people determined to stop them. There is magic and history and fun times with Gwen showing pre-French Revolution men a cell phone. There is an awesome dressmaker who I just loved, and Mr. George is a warm, fuzzy paternal figure for Gwen to latch onto. I’m interested to learn more about Dr. White and his dead son. Did I mention Gwen can see ghosts and no one seems to think this is her power? Maybe it isn’t, but someone should at least look into it, right? So the twists are turns were plentiful in the last two-thirds of the book, and we get the requisite love story blah blah blah near the end. This book breaks a lot of classic time travel rules, like not being able to meet yourself in the past and things like that, but that’s fine. I think I’m the only person who wasn’t mad that the Twilight vampires sparkled. I thought that was cool! The diamond skin and all that. Whatever. So I’m all for breaking classic rules.
One thing that scares me about finishing the series is that it will devolve from sci-fi awesomeness to a romance novel. Yes, yes, I shouldn’t discount romance novels, but I do, because I know I don’t like books where romance is the focus. I got an ARC of Emerald Green at ALA, so I’ll surely be finishing. I am just wary. But, this first novel is a gem (sorry ), and it’s worth reading if you like historical fiction, time travel, and silly girls. Go read and look for a review of Sapphire Blue sometime soon!