Make time for Tapestry

Situation normal, with me slipping behind in my book reviewing due to preferring to spend time book reading.

However, I couldn’t wait for another three posts of book journalling to review Tapestry cover Tapestry by Fiona McIntosh.

I love reading historical fiction, fantasy fiction and romance, but most of all I love a book that combines all three. Add to that mix great storytelling and compelling characters and you have me reading this fabulous story into the early hours of the morning, and then feeling like I had to share with others how good it was.

It’s a fascinating premise for a story. It starts with two parallel stories of women looking like they are going to lose their men: Jane’s fiance Will Maxwell has a brain injury and is on life support in a London hospital in 1978, and Winifred Maxwell’s husband William is to be executed for treason in 1715. William Maxwell’s involvement in the first Jacobite uprising, his capture at the Battle of Preston, and his being sentenced to death for treason against George I are all historical facts. The author takes those facts and puts them alongside 1978 Will’s fictional interest in the nature of ley lines and the tiniest smattering of magic, and Jane is soon convinced that to help Will recover, she must make a sort of pilgrimage to an iconic Australian nexus of power. There “with a bit of a mind flip, [Jane’s] into the time slip, and nothing can ever be the same .”  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that joke.) Jane slips back to 1715 and is soon certain that the fate of the two William Maxwells rests with her, so she sets out on a bold adventure to save the one, and hopefully the other.

I really enjoyed that the historical events are stranger than a lot of fiction. I also like it when an author respects their readers and doesn’t feel they have to justify fantasy plot elements like the time-slip. I thought it fitted perfectly into a 20th century context. The same applies to things like 18th century language and regional dialects, food, smells, disease and sanitary issues – this book wears its obviously substantial research lightly, as Fiona McIntosh makes the story the focus and uses a light hand to seamlessly weave together all the commonplace details to create, like the Tapestry of the title, a picture perfect whole.