I haven’t managed to choose a new Friday Five Challenge this week but I am reporting back on two challenge books I found in August and have finally read.
I bought A Stitch in Time by Amanda James because the travelling back in time appealed to me. I would like to travel back in time but unlike Sarah, the heroine of this book, I would not want to be so actively involved. In fact invisibility would be useful!
Sarah is a History teacher who was betrayed by her husband and best friend two years previously and now has no social life. She is visited by a Time Needler who explains to her that she is needed to travel back in time to put in a stitch so that events don’t unravel. She travels abruptly to Sheffield during the Blitz, becomes a housemaid in the early 20th century and experiences real hardship as a settler in the old American west.
I was disappointed in this book, the first of a series, because although the historical research is excellent, Sarah’s modern viewpoint made it seem untrue. In the present day, Sarah’s on/off romance with John also lacks conviction perhaps because the characters seem so unrealistic.
Vanished by M G da Mota is a much more intriguing book, written from the viewpoint of Oliver, a rich, spoiled Formula One test driver recovering from a bad accident in his family’s stately home. He becomes infatuated with his brother and sister’s beautiful governess but her former life is a mystery which he is determined to solve. As he struggles to walk again, he tries to persuade Michele to fall in love with him, while at the same time using a private investigator to discover her past. While this is happening, Michele investigates the murder of a previous resident of the house, with the blessing of Oliver’s family.
The mystery made me continue reading well into the night, although I had worked out Michele’s past life before it was revealed. Oliver is not an empathetic character. He has always had too much money and his handsome face has guaranteed a string of girlfriends. He shows prejudice against homosexuals and an old fashioned attitude to the proper roles for men and women. Michele, however, seems perfect in looks, generosity and intellect. Why would Oliver appeal to her? Was it all because of one random act of kindness?
I really enjoyed reading this book but struggled with my dislike of Oliver. He just doesn’t deserve happiness.