When I first read about Anna Caltabiano’s story my brain focused on the time travel, magic and curse. As it turns out; there’s more and less geeky elements to the story as well.
We start with a young Rebecca who ends up talking to a mysterious neighbour. True to expectations Rebecca ends up drinking something she shouldn’t – water from the Fountain of Youth – and finds herself in a strangely immortal life with the ability to travel in time.
There’s a Doctor Who twist beyond the time travelling. It’s a twist I rather liked. Rebecca gets not just the title “The Seventh Miss Hatfield” but starts to adopt some of the aspects of her predecessor. The clue’s in the name, though; Miss Hatfield may be immortal but she’s not invulnerable – otherwise we’d still be on the First Miss Hatfield.
The adventure comes to life nice and swiftly too. Rebecca/Miss Hatfield finds herself thrown into a time travelling mission. There’s a painting that needs to be liberated and the best way to achieve that is to travel back in time.
Even as Rebecca starts to slowly change her personality so does the book. We start to drift away from a time travelling fantasy and edge towards a Jane Austen style romance.
Our Miss Hatfield is a strong willed woman in a world that is not ready for her. The apparently simple mission to rescue the painting gets waylaid by the appearance of an interesting young gentleman.
True to form there’s soon romantic tension between the newly aged time traveller and the open minded but charmingly period heir.
If you’re in the mood for time travelling romantic dramas then The Seventh Miss Hatfield is definitely for you.
Me? I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as it’s more my cup of tea. I’ll admit I struggled through some of the more romantic elements of the book; especially the early falling in love scenes.
The two elements loop back together before the end of the book. It turns out that being an immortal time travelling isn’t necessarily compatible with livingly happily ever after with the first young gentleman you meet on your very first mission. Fate, perhaps? The gift of Miss Hatfield may also be a curse – not just in the personality aspects but in that the time traveller no longer has a time to call her own.
My favourite thread to the book was the mystery around the secret of immortality. How does it work, why does it work and what would it mean if someone else had found it too?
The Seventh Miss Hatfield was an usual read for me. I’ve never made it through anything with so much “innocent romance” before. I lapped up all the time travel and mystery and made it all the way to the end – and the book finishes in a way I hoped it would. Always good to get that confirmation back from the author.
Having been told there’s romance and period drama in this time travelling mystery if The Seventh Miss Hatfield sounds like it appeals to you then I’m confident you’ll enjoy the read. I’m actually tempted by the idea of a sequel.
My copy of The Seventh Miss Hatfield was provided for review. Print list price $14.99 and £1.99 on Kindle. Anna Caltabiano and Gollancz.