It began nearly four hundred years ago. The Conall clan and all their people were murdered in a surprise attack, their beloved castle and all evidence of who destroyed them burned to the ground with their bodies. In the centuries following, archaeologists searched through the ruins looking for any evidence of what or who had caused the untimely demise of such a powerful Scottish clan. All efforts were fruitless, until a spell put in place by an ancient Conall ancestor finally began to work its magic…
Texas kndergarten teacher, Brielle Montgomery, finds comfort in the mundane routines of her life, but when her archaeologist mother asks her to accompany her on a dig in Scotland, she decides to step out of her comfort zone. Once in Scotland, they discover a secret spell room below the castle ruins, and Bri finds herself transported back in time and suddenly married to the castle’s ill-fated Laird. Now, she must work to change the fate of his people, all while trying to find a way to return to her home and century. But with each passing day, Bri finds herself falling more deeply in love with her new husband. If she can find a spell to bring her home, will she use it? And if she stays, will it ultimately mean her own death as well?
I’m a huge fan of historical romance (especially historical romances that take place in Scotland), so I was absolutely thrilled to be able to read Love Beyond Time, by Bethany Claire. The story begins with Brielle (Bri) Montgomery, a kindergarten teacher from Austin, Texas who’s stuck in a rut when it comes to her love life (or lack thereof). Sounds familiar? I was initially concerned that this story would be a rehashing of the same sort of stories that I’ve read before in this genre, and while it does stay true to the romantic theme, Claire’s telling is wholly original and just plain fun.
Bri and her counterpart Blaire are both genuinely enjoyable to read about, not to mention absolutely hilarious women. Claire is able to create such a natural rapport between her characters and the readers that, by the end of the story, you really feel emotionally connected and absolutely invested in what’s happened.
Not to mention her sexy highlanders. Okay, I’ll admit, I have a thing for sexy highlanders (who doesn’t?!), but not everyone is able to get it right – Claire is bang on. Eoin and Arran are two brothers that are in varying degrees of love with what they think is the same woman, and many of the situations in the book revolve around the misunderstandings that happen as a result of this case of mistaken identity. But both brothers feel like very distinct, different characters (where so many others I find the characters are just thinly veiled copies of each other) who have their own set of drives and ambitions – as well as motivating factors for love.
Because this is a romantic novel, there of course is some sex, and it is really tastefully done (thought I’m quite comfortable with most anything, I think that even if a reader isn’t much into sex, I don’t think the scenes are too overwhelming) and it’s really nice to see the author utilize sensuality (and tension!) and not just throw her characters into bed – everything that happens is part of a natural progression and believable, which is what makes it feel so right.
What I found really interesting, however, was that initially Claire utilizes a first person narrative for her main character Bri, but switches to third person whenever the perspective changes for everyone else. I thought this was really weird (because I’ve never really come across it in a novel before), but it worked! I loved seeing the world through Bri’s eyes and it seemed natural to have the secondary characters in the third person. I’m interested to see how the subsequent books will be written.
I haven’t enjoyed myself reading a book this much in ages and I actually sat down to start reading it, and didn’t stand up again until I was finished – I had to know how it ended.
I am really excited that the sequels will be out so quickly and I absolutely will be picking them up for a read.
This book gets five hunky Scotsmen out of five (or five stars, if you prefer). I can’t imagine anyone who likes historical romances picking this up and not completely enjoying it. In fact, I think I’ll go read it again.