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13th Century Wales: Sarah Woodbury’s “Daughter of Time”

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Title: Daughter of Time

Author: Sarah Woodbury

Publisher: The Morgan-Stanwood Publishing Group

Copyright: March 19, 2011

ASIN: B004SQSMV6

Format: E-Book, 349 Pages, $12.98 [Amazon Paperback], $0.00 [Kindle], $1.99 [Audible], $12.85 [Barnes & Noble Paperback], $22.99 [Barnes & Noble Hardcover], $0.00 [Nook], $0.00 [Google Play], $0.00 [iBooks], $17.95 [iBooks Audiobook]

Summary:

A medieval man with an uncertain destiny, Llywelyn, the Prince of Wales, faces treachery and deceit at the hands of friends and foes alike …

A modern woman with a troubled past, Meg’s life is in tatters when she slips through time and into medieval Wales …

Only by working together can Meg and Llywelyn navigate the shifting allegiances that threaten the very existence of Wales–and create their own history that defies the laws of time.

Review:

Before I begin my review, I would like to preface it with this. As a genre, I find time travel (with historical fiction as a close second) to be very difficult to pull off. From the immense amount of research that goes into setting the historical scene to the clothing that is worn to the languages that are spoken (and literally, everything), there is always the constant risk of historical inaccuracies. For those of us who are unyielding about this, anachronisms alone can ruin a story entirely. Such was the case with me.

When I saw the title and read the summary, I was brimming with excitement. Having read the Outlander books, I had experienced time travel into the tumultuous 18th century but never before had I read a medieval time travel book. All I have to say is that I had high hopes for Daughter of Time.

The story starts out in 1996 when Meg Lloyd, a single mother and widow learns that her abusive husband has died in a car crash. With horror, she mentally recounts the haunting scenes where she faced abuse at the hands of her cruel and unruly husband. Even though she doesn’t want to admit it, Meg is relieved in a way because he can no longer hurt her or their three-year-old daughter, Anna.  One night, Meg and Anna climb into the car to go get ice cream but that is when something strange occurs.

Meg blacks out and wakes up in 13th century Wales where she and her daughter are trapped inside of the car. Seeing a woman and child in distress, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales hastens to their aid and releases them from the sinking contraption. What follows is Meg’s story as she attempts to survive in 13th century Wales, only having a basic understanding of the Welsh language and having to utilize her high school French in order to communicate with the Welsh prince. In this time, the Welsh and the English are uneasy allies, so speaking English isn’t an option. From the moment they meet, Meg finds an unlikely ally in the dark horse of a prince who protects both her and Anna.

I wish I could say that I enjoyed this story but I just found it hard to fathom. I really wanted to fall in love with Llywelyn like Meg did and to see in him what she saw but the love story just fell flat for me. To me, the love story between Llywelyn and Meg didn’t have time to develop organically and it was almost too contrived. For instance, when Meg comes to in Llywelyn’s room and realizes that she is in his bed, I found it shocking that she was so complacent with sleeping in a complete stranger’s bed. What about her child? Wasn’t she concerned for Anna? Furthermore, it seems like Meg is constantly with Llywelyn and she doesn’t really have much time to mix with other characters which made for less variation.

As I read this story, I didn’t feel like I was in 13th century Wales and the characters seemed very distant to me. Perhaps it is because I really couldn’t relate to any of them. Whenever Llywelyn was the narrator, he utilized modern turns of phrase which I found rather frustrating and entirely unbelievable. There were quite a few anachronisms I noticed as well that kept popping up throughout the story.

While I think Ms. Newbury had an excellent concept, I think that it fell short in the execution of it. I did like the character Meg but wish that she had more of a backbone and possibly was a little more interesting. Ms. Newbury wrote very well thus it was the actions in the story that I took genuine issue with. What I did like about the story was the wealth of Welsh history and the author did a good job of introducing the reader to that. I know next to nothing about Wales in the 13th century. I learned about the fascinating character of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd and the threat that the English posed to him as the proclaimed Prince of Wales.

Rating:

7

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