Monday, 23 January 2012

Time Breaking by Barbara Spencer

Release Date: 01/11/11
Publisher: Matador
Pages: 232
Target Audience: Teens/Young Adults
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Fiction

SynopsisFifteen-year-old Molly is gauche and awkwardly tall, a great disappointment to her parents who only have time for their careers. Constantly at loggerheads because Molly is determined to become a swimmer, the family go to stay in a 17th century manor house now used as a religious retreat. Inadvertently, Molly triggers a time-chute and reappears in 1648, at the end of the Civil War, to find she has taken the place of Molly Hampton, the eldest daughter in a Puritan family. 

After suffering a beating, an entire morning spent in chapel, a smelly privy, a muddy farmyard, and cold water to wash in, Molly labels the seventeenth century "barbaric" and is hell-bent on escaping back to her own life. But the manor house belongs to Sir Richard Blaisdale, a Royalist family, and is barred to her. Forced to continue with the charade, Molly meets Richard, supposedly her best friend, only to find herself falling in love with him. Gradually, Molly begins to change her mind believing that she can stay and take Molly Hampton's place, little realising that danger and disaster lie in wait for her...

My Review:  Miss Spencer strikes again with an incredible story that will pull you in and not let you go. This woman deserves way more recognition than she gets for her superb story-telling,  and she's a wonderful lady as well (I've met her and have a signed copy of 'Running', another of her novels).  So I'm starting my review by saying: READ THIS! Especially if you love historical fiction/fantasy/time-travel.

The descriptions and realism alone make this book a stand out and once you add the emotions and romance it becomes  a very difficult book to put down.  I felt every pain that Molly felt, her frustration, her indecision and ultimately how she came to terms with her life and her plans for the future.
Molly's relationship with Richard was refreshingly different among the many romances for young adults in existence today and I found her independent streak, though it caused her a lot of trouble, to be much more appealing than if she'd taken the easy route.

Perhaps one of the things that affected me the most was the relationship between Molly and her family. I hate a certain member of that family and just thinking about how enclosed Molly must have felt (both the Molly from our time and the Molly from the past time) is enough to make me feel very claustrophobic. And the parallels that can be drawn between the two Molly's and their families (though for different reasons) is very eerie.

There is one particular revelation that left me feeling like my stomach had dropped a foot,  due to the fact it was a 'my god, did that really happen?!' moment. It  was so unexpected and so heart-wrenching. Will Molly stay with Richard, will she go home? All I will say is prepare to be taken on many twists and turns and be confronted with a few 'I never saw that coming!' moments.

I really can't praise this book enough. Time Breaking is a stellar example of historical fiction, unputdownable, emotional and it just plain blew me away. Wow. 

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