(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
One small mistake in the past will change everything about her future…
Archaeologist Sarah Baxter just broke one of the biggest rules of time travel: leaving a piece of 21st century equipment in 19th century Regency England. Unfortunately, when she goes back to retrieve it, she makes an even bigger mess of things—resulting in the death of an English Earl. Now his brother is not only out for revenge, but he also has Sarah’s device. Which means an entirely different approach is needed. It doesn’t occur to the new Earl of Earnston that his charming acquaintance is responsible for his brother’s death. He is merely swept away by a passion that threatens his very reputation. Yet he gets the distinct impression that Miss Baxter is hiding something from him. Now Sarah must find a way to steal back her device, hide the truth about the earl’s brother and—most importantly— not fall in love…
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
A Stolen Season is one of those books that you can probably guess the ending right off the bat. It’s really just the journey to get to that ending that makes or breaks your enjoyment of the book. At least that was the case with me.
First off, let me say that Tamara Gill really is an amazing author. Her writing style is concise and yet flows in a manner consistent with the time period the majority of the novel is set in. She’s able to create not only Sarah’s unique modern voice but Eric, our Earl of Earnston’s 19th century voice and sensibilities. The two main points of view in this novel (with a couple of others thrown in on occasion) really contrast the modern era with the 19th century and Tamara Gill never switches viewpoints for no good reason. Every switch is designed to carry the plot forward and it does this rather effectively. Even though like I said, you probably know the ending of the novel before you’ve even begun, the journey to get there really is nerve-wracking. You won’t be able to put down A Stolen Season because Tamara Gill not only has beautiful writing but a real flair for pacing as well.
The characters really do resonate with me. Sarah is trying to deal with a major screw-up that led not only to the death of a man in that time but also to the loss of a key piece of time traveling equipment. She has disappointed her father, the CEO of TimeArch and is tasked to go back in time to a year after the death of the first Earl of Earnston to get the piece back. There’s only one thing standing in her way: Eric, the new Earl of Earnston and brother to the man Sarah accidentally got killed. When he meets her he’s put off by her rudeness at coming to a ball that she wasn’t invited to but is convinced to invite her to a different ball and get to know her. Even though he pretends to protest because of her rudeness, he’s intrigued by the beautiful stranger who doesn’t seem to conform very well to English society’s rules. Soon they begin an attraction that could be the undoing of them both.
I really know very little about Regency England but Tamara Gill seems to have done her research quite well. She actually has characters react when Sarah accidentally uses modern phrases and addresses things like the moral standards of the day, i.e. if a man and a woman are alone together without a chaperone they had better get married. I particularly loved the descriptions of the fashions of the day for both men and women, high and low class. Gill has such a way of describing things that every single description is captivating and lends an aura of authenticity to the story. She really transports you back to the time both through the eyes of an outsider like Sarah and the eyes of Eric, a man who grew up extremely privileged in that era. It really is a magical sort of experience.
Really, what more can you ask for if you’re looking for a time travel romance? You’ve got beautiful writing that brings you back in time to Regency England, a cast of wonderful and three dimensional characters and a plot that even though you probably know the ending will keep you on your seat. It doesn’t get better than this.
I give this book 5/5 stars.