A Whisper in Time by Elizabeth Langston (Whisper Falls, book 2)
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Review copy thanks to the publisher and Netgalley
Synopsis from Goodreads:
I have never been useless in my life.
Rescued from a life of servitude by the boy she loves, Susanna Marsh escapes across two centuries, only to be plunged into a world she's ill-prepared to face. Unable to work or go to school, Susanna finds herself dependent on others to survive.
Immersed in the fun and demands of his senior year of high school, Mark Lewis longs to share his world with the girl who's captured his heart. But first he must tackle government bureaucracy to prove Susanna's identity.
Overwhelmed by her new home, Susanna seeks refuge in history and in news of the people she left behind. But when she learns that danger stalks her sister, Susanna must weigh whether to risk her own future in order to save Phoebe's happiness.
So this is the second book in the series. The first book could have ended well as it did, with Susanna crossing the portal into the 21st century permanently to escape from her vicious master, into a new life with Mark. However, it did leave me wanting more, and wondering "Well, what happens next?". This question is answered with this book where we see Susanna struggling to get to grips with life in the 21st century, discovering how much the world has changed socially, catching up on American history, and learning all the new technology.
She battles with trying to get identification and a job, needing to useful and struggling with the idea of being a burden to Mark's family. She is nervous of meeting Mark's friends or of being in large crowds, and worries that eventually Mark will get bored of her. And as Mark goes through his final year of High School, wanting to go out with his friends and thinking of College and his future it seems as though there are many obstacles in their path. I loved seeing Susannah adapt to, and battle with elements of her new life, and it's very interesting to imagine being faced with everything in modern America seen through the eyes of someone raised in the 17th Century.
Although Susanna is resigned to life in her new world and happy, she is still full of curiosity about the family she left behind, and what happened to them. And with the power of being able to look back into history through public records, Susanna is faced with the knowledge of tragedy in her sister's past, and the question of whether or not she can (or should) go back and try to change her sister's fate...
I do have some issues with time travel books and timelines, and the idea of going back into the past to change the present. As I started to try and get my head around future Susanna learning about her sister's accident, and going back in time to alter the course of events, I started to think about how she wouldn't have gone back if Phoebe's accident hadn't happened, so therefore Susanna's interference wouldn't have happened... (a kind of chicken and egg cycle) round and round, until my brain started to hurt! And how changing one thing might have potentially altered many things... people she met, who she married, children she had etc. Would she not have risked totally altering the future? Yeah, it got me thinking and confused!
There also seemed to be some kind of sub-plots going on with Mark's friend Gabrielle, and also with Mark's sister and her loser partner, and then neither of those tangents ever went anywhere, so I don't know what that was about (unless all is revealed in book 3?)
All in all, I did enjoy this book. I like Mark and Susanna as characters, and the whole idea of 17th Century Susanna learning to adapt to a new life in the present day is very cool. There are nice tender moments between them, in between all the drama and worries. It is a nice easy read, with plenty of history and and an engaging plotline.