When Rowena Analiese Lindstrom buys an antique armoire online, a high-ticket item per se not to mention the cost of transporting it from Kent in England to Chicago, she thinks she’s just acquired a nice link to her past and late parents. Instead she gets a mouldy piece of furniture plus a solid-gold key – a portal for time travels.
Soon she discovers that a handsome half-gypsy prince is waiting for her on the other side. A prince with his own agenda, you should add. Oh, and let’s not forget about the magic mirror hanging inside that armoire only Rowena can cross through – stark naked, the golden key being the only accessory available
Rowena falls in love with prince Caedmon very quickly and that fact changes her life in a dramatic way. Is Caedmon really in love with her or is he just after that mysterious key which might save his kingdom and make his career skyrocket? How much is Rowena willing to risk in order to find out the truth?
I was eyeing that series for some time and, as many reviewers strongly recommended to start it at the very beginning, after a brief hesitation I duly purchased the first part. I admit it was a short read (the series consists of four novellas, easy to swallow in one evening but for me a bit too compact).
The main character, Rowena, is a completely modern woman living in Chicago, who works as an antique dealer, being, allegedly, one of the best in the business. One October night she buys on a whim a mysterious armoire online, an antique found in the ole good England, somehow connected to her family (it wasn’t properly explained how – not yet anyway). All of a sudden she gets her very private window into the past. My problem was she didn’t recognize the era. Wasn’t an antique dealer supposed to know rather more than less about different periods even if they specialize in just one or two?
Then there was the whirlwind romance between Rowena and Caedmon which at first was kind of sweet and funny but soon I felt stuck in a well-known rut. I grant it – it is just a beginning of the series and I shouldn’t judge the story without getting to know how it ends but still I expected a bit slower pace, something more anachronistic.
Overall the premise was nice enough but somehow little tidbits I mentioned above made it hard for me to suspend the disbelief completely. The encounters/dates with Caedmon via an enchanted mirror went too smoothly; he and Rowena understood each other a tad too well for people living centuries (and perhaps realities) apart. It is often my problem with time travel in fantasy fiction– the issue is so complex that it is really difficult to imagine all the implications. It means I often find plenty to complain about.
The ending made me interested almost despite myself – because of that I might continue reading but the first part was not especially thrilling. Oh, wait, it wasn’t a thriller, it was a fantasy romance. It explains a lot, doesn’t it? ;p