January 2021
Self Published
361 pages
Rating: 3 cups

Nessa Brodie follows her Uncle Angus into the passage grave on top of Clough Hill to where he believed was a portal in which to travel through time back to the time of the Vikings. Uncle Angus had an accident when he was young and had a head injury. Most of the time he was nearly a genius, but sometimes the stuff he comes up with sounds on the crazy side. But somehow when she opened her eyes, they are not where they were, or even when they were. Angus actually managed to take them back in time, only they ended up farther back than he was aiming for. She realizes the people are speaking in a lost language she understands because her family have been keepers of knowledge for them, they are the Picts. They have arrived right before their King Bridei saved the Picts from the Anglo-Saxons and made for the later Scots in the north of the Island. This king made her family their storykeepers in his time, and now all that is left is Nessa, Angus, and her grandmother, who is dying.

Bridei first thinks Nessa and Angus are spies. How else can their sudden appearance coming out of the well be explained? He immediately recognizes Angus is no threat and is surprised to hear them speaking his language, even though they are wearing the strangest clothing he has ever seen, as Nessa has pants on!  He takes his role as king very seriously. He has no plan to marry or father children until he has reunited his people and defeated their enemies. He decides to separate them. He keeps Nessa in his chamber tied to a post and sends Angus with others. Every time he questions her, he can tell Nessa is not giving him the truth or at least not all of it.

Nessa and Bridei continuously challenge each other. He knows she is hiding something and she is afraid if she tells him the real truth he will think she is a witch and kill her. She eventually sees an opportunity to escape and takes it and searches the woods looking for Angus, who escaped first and had not been found. She is captured again and Bridei decides she has to be a spy and takes her to the camp of King Ecgfrith. He starts to leave and realizes they plan to rape her, so he ends up rescuing her and returning to his camp. When something happens to Angus, Nessa feels like she is stuck, as there is no way to get back so she starts trying to accept it and her new life, but grieves for her grandmother and her old life, including her boyfriend, Nathan. Just when she is starting to settle and her and Bridei have progressed to being lovers, Nathan shows up from the future.

I picked this book because I love just about anything Scottish. I realize this one is not really Scottish, more like pre-Scottish but it still scratched that itch for me. I do not know a lot about the Picts, but I have heard of them. I enjoyed the way the author gave their history before jumping into the time travel love story thing that others have done before. Nessa and Bridei did not just jump each other lustily. There is so much more going on and she feels guilty for wanting him not only because of Nathan, but also because of the loss of Angus and her grandmother.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More





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