by Beth Trissel
At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Be-fore she can make sense of their murmurs, the house "warbles" between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she'd paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.
Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meet-ing Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?
Against the background of Sheridan's Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?
She took a steadying breath, turned the brass knob, and stepped into the room. The fragrance of lavender greeted her. Grandma G. had tucked sachets under her mattress to help her sleep and left small cloth bags in the drawers of an antique dresser. A sachet of apricot scented agrimony lay beneath her pillow.
This age-old herb was thought to induce slumber and offer protection against the dark forces. Other powerful herbs scented the room. Angelica, St. John’s Wort, and sage were in the bunch on the bedside stand beside the antique brass lamp with an ornamental white shade.
The walk-in, but duck your head, closet at the far side of the room summoned her. Boxes of Christmas decorations, a Santa, and reindeer figures stored inside the slanted nook partially hid the steps leading to the attic and the presence she swore was there. She hadn’t encountered the being in question. Yet. It wasn’t cool for a nineteen-year-old to harbor terrors of a closet, but she did.
She threw her hands up after a particularly loud summons. “What do you want from me?”
There was a rap on the downstairs door. ~
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This is a perfect read for fans of time travel romance. I’ll admit that it’s not what I usually read, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this book. I especially liked the house’s role in orchestrating the time travel. At the beginning, I kind of expected this to be more on the paranormal side, but I was surprised and not in a bad way.
Evie is a great leading lady. She’s smart and sassy, but she still feels turned up-side-down when she suddenly finds herself in the past. I mean, who wouldn’t? I liked how she kept trying to use modern terms or objects in the past and then realize no one knew what she was talking about.
Similarly, Jack is quite the character. He really brings out how war can force one to make difficult choices. It doesn’t hurt that he’s roguishly handsome and has a certain charm to him. He’s also a great match for Evie. They complement each other nicely.
While the time travel was interesting, the story felt a bit rushed. Evidently, Jack and Evie are destined to be lovers and have met at different points in the past. I’ve seen this kind of thing before, but here, the introduction of their ongoing romance came so fast. Then, Evie developed these deep relationships with the past inhabitants of her grandmother’s house. It was all emotionally lovely, but I couldn’t quite get my head around it. It just felt too quick to be realistic.
Overall, this was a quick, cute read with some true wartime tension. Some of the situations are heartbreaking, but there’s almost always a good dose of humor to break things up. I recommend this for time travel romance readers, definitely. If you’ve been wanting to try a time travel romance, this would be a great one to start with.
Married to her high school sweetheart, Beth Trissel lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by her human family and furbabies. An avid gardener, her love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into her work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans, and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of her inspiration. She's especially drawn to colonial America, the drama of the American Revolution, and the Civil War. And she loves a good ghost story. She writes Young Adult, New Adult, historical, time travel, and paranormal romance, plus nonfiction. Secret Lady (Ladies in Time) was based events that occurred to her ancestors and her husband’s Mennonite forebears during the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley.
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