Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Square Fish
Publishing Date: May 12, 2012
“If we were in a film, the villain would turn out to be the least-expected person. But as we aren’t in a film, I’d go for the character who tried to strangle you.”
I received this book in BooklyBox (now known as PageHabit) almost two years ago. I read it then and absolutely loved it, but recently realized I’d never written a review of this AWESOME book! I decided it was due time I re-read this beauty so I could sing its praises as I’ve been doing for two years now.
I was immediately drawn into this book as it is about a 16-year-old time traveler, who seeks to unravel the mystery of the life that’s been thrust upon her. The cover is also very eye-catching as the girl is in a stunning red dress!
Pros & Cons:
I think one of my favorite elements in this novel/series, aside from the characters, is the fact that we get an “authentic” look at the wardrobe of different time periods, seeing as the dressmaker, Madame Rossini is determined to make every piece indistinguishable from the real thing. I also loved that most of the characters in this book were family and even lived under the same roof. It made the interactions much more personal and created some explosive scenes that were perfect.
I also liked that Kerstin brought a physical aspect to time travel, as I feel most times its described as a “blink of an eye” situation. In her novel, she talks about the symptoms associated with time travel: nausea, dizziness, headaches, etc. This was definitely an interesting element to me! Next time my blood pressure drops and I get dizzy I’m just going to assume I’m headed somewhere in the last 500 years.
If I had to pick a “con” I would say that I was personally peeved by Gideon, not just as a character, but in that some of his feelings and in turn his actions were rushed. It left me wanting to rewind and slow down my reading so I could enjoy the banter and sarcasm between him and Gwyneth a bit more.
I personally felt that all of the characters were well developed. Overall my favorite characters are probably Mr. George, who we meet a little over halfway into the novel, and Madame Rossini. Mr. George is good-natured and works tirelessly to believe the best of others and to be kind. He’s funny at certain points, too. Madame Rossini just gives me the imagery of a short plump woman full of love and compliments. She’s feisty, sure, especially when it comes to clothing, but she’s remarkably sweet, too.
Our protagonist, Gwyneth Shepherd, is relatable (in a teenage way), and is challenging. I love that she doesn’t always do what she’s told (in fact, most times she doesn’t.) She is definitely a strong female lead, and I love that in Gwyn’s strength Kerstin also showcases her weaknesses. The other strong female in this novel is Charlotte – egotistical and self-righteous – who has been told she was special since she was in the womb. Granted, I recognize that her life was different than most children, but I definitely don’t believe that entitles her to be an awful human. Don’t worry, though, Gwyneth isn’t the only kick-ass female in the book. Lesley, her best friend, is the Hermione of this novel. She’s open, honest, and loves to research! She calls things as she sees them and is just very real.
Gideon is another major player in the plot. He starts off quite similarly to Charlotte – self-righteous – and rather enjoys putting Gwyneth down. I was very happy to see this shift later on in the novel as Kerstin shows us a softer side to him. Gideon is hardworking, and a protector by nature. Sure, he’s prideful, and cannot fathom that he might be wrong sometimes but in some ways, that’s what makes me love him.
There are plenty of other supporting characters that really make this novel/series come to life. You’ll just have to get to know them for yourself because I’m afraid I cannot say anymore!
This Coming-of-Age YA novel serves you fantasy, mystery, and romance on a silver platter. This is a very age neutral novel in that with one curse word, and a single scene involving blood, I’d happily let a mature 10-year-old read. If you’ve read this novel/series, please let me know your thoughts. I’ve been dying to discuss this book with someone for ages.
– Happy Reading!
“You were talking to that niche in the wall again, Gwyneth. I saw you.”
“Yes, but it’s my favorite bit of wall, Gordon. I’d hurt its feelings if I didn’t stop and talk to it.” – Gwyneth Shepherd and Gordon
― Gideon de Villiers & Gwyneth Shepherd
Gideon’s smile grew wilder. “Maybe I’ll take you up on that some other time. Now, come on. We still have a lot to do today.” He took my arm (a loud squel could be heard from the steps and guided me towards the limousine.”
― Lesley & Gwyneth