Hope knew she was adopted at a young age, but that’s about all her mother told her. Many years later, her mother is presumed dead, killed in an earthquake. Hope is sent to Scotland to reunite with her mother’s family and she is in for a shock. It seems her mother is part of a time-travelling family and her mother is not dead but trapped in London 1154 during the reign of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitane. Hope and her cousins travel back to fetch her mother before the rival time travelling family gets to them and the rare black opal that wields great time travelling power.
I feel like I have read more than the usual number of time-travel YA books lately. This one is fine for middle school. It is being hyped as Outlander for teens – no, not at all. It’s time travel back hundreds of years to Great Britain and that’s where the similarity ends. It takes a bit of time to get going on the action but that’s okay. This first book in the planned series sets up the characters and the time-travelling mechanism and history. I did have some problems with the minutiae and the plot when they arrived back in time. They got into the royal court far too easily. The adventure picked up nicely with the requisite number of bad guys and good guys. More than anything, one of my favorite queens in history, Eleanor of Aquitane, is introduced to this generation of readers. I hope interest is peaked and readers continue to read about Eleanor of Aquitane and her importance in history. One of my favorite books, A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Minerva by E. L. Konigsburg would be an excellent follow-up.
eGalley review Publication date 3.1.16