My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Though our main character is a teen, these books read like an adult novel. That is not to say that they are inappropriate for young adult readers, there is just a different tone to the writing that speaks more to adult historical fiction than sassy time traveling ya adventures.
The novel is very well written, so each jump through time and space feels authentic. It reads like a historical fiction novel with rich details and time period-specific obstacles for the characters to overcome. The writing is very poetic and descriptive allowing you to vividly imagine what is taking place. You view each time period through two different lenses.
Etta is from our time and marvels at the quiet, the rights of the people in that era or the restricting style of dress. Nicholas is from the time of our country’s founding and is amazed by the flying machines or rattled by the loudness and speed of cars. He has travelled before, but not enough to desensitize him or dampen his wonder. It adds this wonderful layer of authenticity to the world we’re being introduced to.
Our two main characters are likable, believable people with flaws. You hope that the conflict of interest resolves itself without betrayal, but worry the entirety of the book that their friendship (or potential future relationship) will be destroyed. Even as a reader you feel the turmoil and wonder what you would choose when everything was on the line.
My critique is that it feels a little like instalove. Nothing happens right away, but the thoughts in their heads betray the speedy attachment and unexplainable immediate need to protect one another.
Highly recommended to young adult/teen readers who enjoy historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy and contemporary novels. This is hard to place in a genre but I expect it to be well liked by most readers as it is wonderfully written.