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The Governess's Peculiar Journey
by Lesley-Anne McLeod
ISBN 978-1-60174-247-6..... © 2018 ....... Available February 2019

Time travel is impossible. It calls into question everything that governess Avice Palsham knows about the natural world and believes about the mystical universe.

Nevertheless, when she and her young orphaned charge, Jacob Milden, experience a profound change in their circumstances in the Red Tower of Kenning Old Manor, time travel is the only explanation. They were somehow undeniably transported from their Victorian world of 1865 to the Regency era, fifty years earlier.

The first person they encounter in their changed world is Kendall Marbury, an unsympathetic and suspicious economist accustomed to dealing in facts and figures, who is staying at his cousin's Manor. At first he scoffs at the idea of time travel, but Kendall is nothing if not pragmatic. What is, is, and if they must all accept the fact of time travel, then they must.

For Avice, the idea of being transplanted into the world of the Regency, which 1865 calls decadent and immoral, is repugnant. Though her life in Victorian London is less than ideal, she mourns the loss of gaslight, photography, steam travel, telegraphy and lawfulness. She feels she is out of place and she tries everything to return to her own era. Her sense of duty to the little boy in her care is part of her desire to return to 1865. He cannot understand their strange journey, and he cannot make for himself the momentous decision to stay in 1815.

Together Avice and Kendall must come to terms with the transference in time of Avice and her charge, and their growing attraction to each other. If Avice succeeds in engineering a return to 1865, she--and Jacob--will be where they belong. But will they be happy?

 

"I enjoyed The Governess's Peculiar Journey so much, I am pleased to award it one of Romance Reviews Today's rare Perfect 10s."

Jane Bower
Romance Reviews Today

EXCERPT

When she stood before the door, she hesitated. She had not to do this, she did not have to go within the cursed or charmed chamber again. She could accept what had happened, and go about her business, in 1815. But, if she did so, she would always wonder if she could have returned Jacob to his proper sphere. And she would always mourn her losses.


She grasped the handle which turned easily; one push opened the door. The chamber was exactly as they had left it; simply furnished, pleasant enough, even rather welcoming, she thought now that panic did not colour her view.


Hesitantly she crossed to the other door. She must not cross the threshold, she thought, not with any part of herself or her clothes. The heavy bar Marbury had dropped into place gave her a moment's struggle, but she heaved it aside and grasped the handle. She turned it, pushed, and stepped back at the same moment. Shaking, she stared at the aperture. The day without gleamed with same innocence that it had in the courtyard. The crumbling wall stood as it had when they had arrived, the sticks that Marbury had tossed still lay on its stones.


That was all she could do, she thought. Toss more sticks. Crossing to the cold fireplace, she gathered some kindling. Returning within two feet of the door, she laid six small twigs before her. Then one at a time, she tossed them through. The first two landed on the wall's broken walk. And so did the third. The fourth disappeared in that odd shimmer of light she had seen first with Marbury. The fifth disappeared, and the sixth.


Crossing to one of the straight wooden chairs, she sat and thought as rationally as she could. There was little point to this exercise. It only confirmed that sticks disappeared when tossed, into some sort of portal. Where they went could not be determined. Unless she tied notes to the sticks, asking for return or information. It was an interesting idea, one that deserved more consideration.


A shimmer of light drew her attention to the doorway just in time to see a stick soar into the room and clatter to the floor. As Marbury had, she acted from reflex and crossing, slammed the door shut, and lifted the heavy bar to its staples. She would not have anyone else share her exile.


She bent to the stick, trembling in reaction to her nervous anxiety, and discovered a renewed fright. It was not a stick at all, not the twig she had tossed. It was a chicken leg, newly cooked, freshly chewed. She left it where it lay and, as though demons were at her heels, left the Tower and the courtyard and sought refuge in the conservatory.