Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Back to the Future--Again! Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor

Bran and I shared a smile. A blaze of heat and tenderness and something else I couldn't yet name began to flood through me. What existed between us had survived through time and space. I thought ... maybe...we could become something legendary.

But the thing about legends is that they rarely have a happy ending.

And Hope and Bran have more than young love in common with those legendary lovers Romeo and Juliet. Hope is now a member of the Viators, a family dedicated to fighting the forces of the dark, usually in the form of the rival gang, the Timeslippers, traveling back in time to forestall events which could destroy the world of their own time. Bran is the estranged scion of the Timeslippers, controlled by his evil mother Celia. When, after a long absence, Bran appears at the Highland games, Hope knows that there is more than a manly Scots contest afoot, and she soon learns that Bran and the members of her Scots family have a new mission, to go back to 1895 and disable an "enhancement" invented by Nicola Tesla which would give the Timeslippers immense power over the past.

Time is short. There is no time for martial training, as there was before their earlier visit to rescue Hope's mother from captivity from the court of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, so with some frantic dressmaking and lessons in Victorian manners, the Viators descend to the subterranean tunnels beneath their manor to the magical point where the nexus where the magical ley lines intersect, forming their own "wrinkle in time," through which they must pass into the past.

I'd allowed myself to forget the part that comes just before the gray lassitude that whispered. "Give up, give in."

Wouldn't I give anything to avoid what came next: bone and nerve and flesh knit together by a force greater than any that had ever existed. Oh God, the pain...

But after the initial inconvenience of being chased by stampeding cattle into a Victorian abattoir, Hope finds the Gilded Age fascinating. Despite her constricting undergarments, the fashions are flattering, and she finds it easy to move through the upper crust of New York society--Vanderbilts, Astors, and all--as they search for a way to get close to the genius Tesla and his secret "enhancement" to destroy it before the Timeslippers capture Bran and gain the gadget for themselves.

It all comes down to a nip-and-tuck, slash-and-dash, shoot-and-scoot confrontation, chasing down subterranean tunnels and walking the plank between two Victorian edifices, despite the hazards of Victorian corsetry, along with the tragic death of the head of their family in the explosive destruction of Tesla's earth-shaking device.

In this sequel to her well-received first in series, Into the Dim (read my 2016 review here),  Janet B. Taylor's forthcoming Sparks of Light (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) offers romance and rip-roaring adventure in the dark and dim corridors of history. Fast-paced, in Taylor's sometimes rococo language, there's rarely a dull moment in this historical sci fi thriller, with side divergences into appalling aspects of the late 19th century such as Hope's confinement in a Victorian insane asylum for women and her discovery of the calculating bartering of rich young brides among the fabulously wealthy upper class. Still, through it all, there is the strong undercurrent of family loyalty and Hope and Bran's continuing love story.

Keep your Way-Back Machine warmed up. Occasional flashbacks to ancient times in which Hope and Bran bond as children foreshadow a third book which may tie up the loose ends to this page-turning, century-roaming series.

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  • Lol I remember the movie :)
    Dockatot Coupon

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 5:45 AM  

  • You must have time-travel powers, too, Stephanie. The book won't be published until later this week!

    I'm sure Janet Taylor will be thrilled when she gets the contract for the movie deal! :)

    By Blogger GTC, at 7:06 AM  

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