Friday, March 29, 2013

A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage — 378 pgs

When Alex Lind’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere on the way to a meeting in Scotland, she has no idea what will happen next or what will become of her career if she misses this most important of meetings. Before she knows it, Alex is in the middle of a terrible storm and a lightning bolt hits her and drags her towards a gaping maw in the center of the earth—a hole that was not there before and is not there afterwards. When she awakes, she’s discovered by a man on the run. Matthew Graham is a captive of the crown who has escaped his prison and is still wanted for being on the wrong side of the king. But when Matthew explains to Alex that the year is 1658 and not 2002, there are very colorful outbursts from both sides. It seems that Alex’s mother was a very powerful witch who was adept at creating just the kind of time portal that Alex has just fallen into, and once someone disappears down one, they are never seen in their own time again. To make matters worse, Matthew’s status as a wanted man complicates things in a rather unique way. The soldiers  hunting them are not simple, and it will take an awful lot of outwitting before Alex and Matthew can make their way to his manor. But before that, there is the little matter of the intense attraction they feel for one another: she for a man who’s strong and capable, and he for this mysterious and headstrong lassie who can best some men in a fight. In this first volume of a new series by Anna Belfrage, two very different people will become one, but not in the ways you would think, and the magic that brought them together also threatens to tear them apart. Historically fascinating and spellbindingly alluring, A Rip in the Veil is not only entertaining but fast paced and surprisingly unique as well.

I know, I know, some of you are screaming “Jamie and Claire,” but this is definitely not at all like Jamie and Claire. Though there are some commonalities, the books do deviate rather wildly from the very beginning, and Alex Lind is no Claire at all, while Matthew Graham isn’t a stand-in for Jaime. I loved the Outlander books and would have been offended had the author tried to pen her own series that took off on them, and to my delight, she did not. This book is original both in its tone and in its pacing. The demons that Matthew must fight are very real and the danger is a lot closer to home than one would think. Alex is a very real and intriguing character as well. She’s a blackbelt in karate and is as headstrong as a bull. I found that though I love Outlander, there is a place in my heart for this series as well.

Alex’s mother, Mercedes, isn’t what she claimed to be all those years of raising her daughter. In reality, she’s a time walking witch who has had to do battle with some serious foes whom she has trapped in time and who are now after Alex for answers. A few of these hauntingly ferocious men have also made their way to Alex Lind’s unexpected destination. This leaves Alex to confess the whole story to Matthew. He has no trouble believing that the woman who fell from the sky dressed in skin tight breeches might have a few enemies that have chosen to follow their prey. As Alex and Matthew become closer, so do their respective foes, and there is never a dull moment when it comes to the lives of these two. One has problems that haunt her from the past while the other has problems that threaten to take over his future.

The love story in this tale was refreshing, because Alex is a modern woman, and as a modern woman, she isn’t afraid to seduce the protective Matthew, who can’t seem to understand why she isn’t quiet and complacent, and doesn’t do as she’s told. There are many thunderstorms in this relationship, as Alex is not afraid to tell Matthew when he’s acting like an ass or when she finds his behavior unacceptable. She is an enigma to him. Though she will sometimes do as he requests, there’s no ordering her around and no getting her under his thumb. She just will not have it. As the lovers struggle, they come closer and closer to the truth behind what’s got them both running. His secrets and hers together are enough to put a serious wrench in their plans, but since Alex has no present to return to, she must take him for all he is worth, and give of herself in return.

This was a wily and fun book that I didn’t expect to keep me so invested or entertained. I loved the sparks that flew from this couple, and I loved that the “bad guys” were so cleverly engineered. They weren’t implausible, instead they were right in your face and coming for the duo with both guns blazing. There was also a great degree of historical accuracy to the tale as well, which was fascinating to read. Suffice to say that I learned a lot about the Scots during the rule of the lords and during the rule of the king. This book was a clever melding of the past and the present, and instead of having a dual narrative, Belfrage ties it all together in one story. It’s a twisted and clever tale she tells, and her narrative timing and originality make this a read that one can enjoy for escape and enjoyment.

If you walk into this one thinking that it’s just another Jamie and Claire retake, you will be totally mistaken. The characters will see to it that there is just no comparing the two, as will the storyline. It was the perfect book for me to sink my teeth into after the more serious books that I had been reading, and its plot was ever revolving and all consuming. I’m happy to say that I have the second installment, Like Chaff in the Wind, right here, and it will be happily devoured very soon. An excellent read that pits some very unusual characters for and against one another. Recommended!


This book was provided as a complimentary review copy.

16 comments:

Book Dilettante said...

Sounds like an entertaining book with an enjoyable plot. I'll look for it!

Sandy Nawrot said...

It would be very hard for me to not at least compare the two though! So many similarities! I'm wondering how many books in the series this author is planning to write. Well at least the book isn't 1,000 pages!!!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I for one wouldn't dream of screaming Jamie and Claire! :--)

bermudaonion said...

Hm, I have enjoyed some time travel books but it's not a favorite genre of mine. I'll have to think about this one.

Suko said...

Wonderful review, as always! Your way with words is outstanding, and I love your description of Mercedes as a "time walking witch". This book does sound unique and totally worth reading.

Darlene said...

I don't want to read too much of your review because I picked up both books the other day when you said how good they were.

Vasilly said...

I haven't read Outlander yet so I can't compare the two books. I'm really curious to see where this book is going. I'm adding it to my list.

Beth F said...

I love time travel books and absolutely was thinking Jamie and Claire. Maybe I'll give this one a try, since you liked it so much.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

You have been reading several "new to me books". Don't you know that I don't need to be adding titles to that list:) Happy Easter. It is beginning to feel more like Spring:)

Elizabeth said...

*sigh* I am re-reading Outlander and am TRYING to remember where the darn thing gets captivating - I KNOW I loved it the first time I read it, but this time I'm struggling.

Athira said...

I wasn't too fascinated by Outlander but this one sounds irresistible! I am going to have to look for it.

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

I didn't mind this one (though Like Chaff In The Wind was very good) but I feel almost like I shouldn't have reviewed it since everyone mentioned Outlander - I haven't read Outlander so missed the similarities. I think Belfrage is on to a good thing, though.

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

I read Outlander a long time ago and while I loved the first book...I just could not stay immersed in the series. I honestly did not like Claire (quite often) and wanted her to be more. It sounds like this series is spot on and one I'm definitely going to be reading.

Marg said...

The more I hear about these books, the more I think that they are my kind of story!

Lisa said...

It's nice that you've read Outlander so that you can comment on where this and that differ so those that might steer away from this because of the similarities will know this is worth reading. Dang, that was a convoluted sentence!

Buried In Print said...

I'm not sure this one is for me, but I enjoyed reading your thoughts about it, and the idea of a wily and fun read after a few serious reads certainly appeals! Glad you have the second book at hand; I hate having to wait for a follow-up when a new series has caught my attention!

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