The Hands of Time by Irina Shapiro

The Hands of Time by Irina Shapiro
The Hands of Time: Book 1
Publisher: Merlin Press LLC
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Time Travel, Historical
Length: Full length (247 pages)
Heat Rating: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

When a young woman vanishes without a trace from a quaint fishing village on the coast of England, only one person knows the truth, but he remains silent allowing the authorities to search for her in vain.
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Meanwhile, Valerie Crane finds herself transported to the year 1605. Terrified and confused, she turns for help to the Whitfield brothers, who take her in and offer her a home. Both Alexander and Finlay Whitfield fall in love with the mysterious woman, who shows up on their doorstep, creating a love triangle that threatens to consume them all. Valerie must make her choice, deciding between the brother who will lead her down the path of destruction, or one who will give her a love she couldn’t find in her own time.

When a woman accidentally travels back in time several centuries, things are not what one would expect. Valerie, a modern-day woman, finds herself back in the year 1605, in England, during the time of James I/VI. She meets two charming, handsome brothers who show interest in her.

Interestingly, she chooses one rather early in the book but is still close to the other brother. Valerie marries her new love and becomes pregnant; then tragedy strikes. Her husband becomes involved in the Gunpowder Plot, a plan to blow up the king and parliament because of repressive policies toward Catholics. What happens next is a tearjerker and makes this novel not so much a romance as a time-travel story with heavy romantic elements.

Valerie and one brother have to make a hard choice, and they find that being related to a “traitor” has terrible repercussions. They must leave England forever. They get on a ship and head to the primitive Jamestown settlement in Virginia (Note: the author used a little artistic license with the historical dates here, but it worked).

Throughout the story, Valerie’s sister tries to find her missing sister in the present. Working in the art field, she comes across an old portrait of her sister from the seventeenth century and is shocked. She will make a decision carrying heavy risk and try to find her sister, setting up a nice transition into the next book.

The twists and turns keep things moving swiftly. The setting is well-written, rich with historical details, and the characters are realistic and likeable. This is an entertaining read.

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