by Bethany Claire
Series: Morna's Legacy #1
Pub. Date: June 16, 2016
Free Date: Dec. 27, 2014
Publisher: Bethany Claire Books
Narrator: Lily Collingwood
Length: 7 hrs 36 min
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 kindergarten 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?
So I have seen this series compared to Outlander many times over the past year, and I was stoked to find it free on Amazon (I did add the Audible narration for $1.99). I agree that fans of Outlander may like this series... but I am not sure that I would compare the books. It would be an unfair comparison seeing as the Outlander books are 800+ pages, and the Morna's Legacy books all appear to be under 300 pages. You are just not going to get the same level of detail, plot and character development at that length. (I mention this only because I took a quick scroll through the reviews and saw some complaints.)
That being said - Love Beyond Time was a good start to a time travel series for fans of historical romance set in Scotland. I think if you are reading it (vs. listening to the audiobook), that the story is paced well and the plot conflict is interesting even though its somewhat typical of the conflict seen in most Scottish historical romances. I happened to listen to this book in audio, and the narrator read a little slow for me, which made the story drag in places.
The time periods are split between 1645 and 2013, and the time travel is triggered by a witch's spell originally cast in the 17th Century on a portrait of two doppelganger women separated by 400 years. Brielle (21st Century) and Blaire (17th Century) swap places in time when both of them see a portrait that looks like them and read the inscription (spell) underneath the painting. Brielle arrives in 1645 on the evening of her wedding to Laird Eoin Connall. Things do not start off well for Eoin and Brielle, and they had an uphill battle from enemies to friends to lovers all the while trying to uncover the unknown enemy in time to stop the entire clan from being slaughtered.
I liked Brielle and Eoin, though I wish the narrator would have infused more personality into the characters' speech and dialects. Between the slight character development and the somewhat monotonous narration, the characters sometimes felt one-dimensional. I was hoping that this series was going to follow one couple over their trials and tribulations through time, but after glancing through the first few books, it looks like there will be a new couple for each book. So I will be interested to see if the author's writing changes as the series progresses.
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