The Tower’s Peculiar Visitor by Lesley-Anne McLeod

The Tower’s Peculiar Visitor by Lesley-Anne McLeod
Publisher: Uncial Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance, Historical
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Jane Gladwyne enjoys her work, and she enjoys her life as a general secretary and governess at Kenning Old Manor. When she is told of the propensity of the ancient Red Tower, part of the ruined Kenning Castle, to allow people of other times to arrive in 1825, she is at first disbelieving. The household at Kenning Old Manor accept this oddity as fact however, and eventually Jane too acknowledges the impossible reality. She is thankful the Red Tower is not her responsibility, but that of Caleb Debray, son of the estate steward.

When a visitor from the future arrives in the Tower however, she is seconded to Debray as his assistant. And the fact of time travel is all too real, as between them, Jane and Caleb attempt to conceal the visitor’s origins, curtail his activities, and cope with his ebullient personality. The task brings them into constant contact and, as they become better acquainted, a warmth grows between them.

When the visitor’s actions endanger the family that owns Kenning Old Manor, Caleb and Jane must protect the household. When the traveler’s suggestions endanger Jane’s peace of mind, she must make difficult decisions. And when the visitor’s presence threatens Caleb’s future happiness, he takes decisive action.

Eventually the explorer decides to travel on, risking his life again through the Tower portal, and Caleb cannot be sorry. But the visitor’s arrival and his presence have changed everything for the inhabitants of Kenning Old Manor. Balance and normality will be difficult to recapture, and happiness could be elusive.

Nothing remains the same forever.

It was intriguing to read a time travel novel from the perspective of characters who must suddenly cope with a visitor who is so uninformed about their culture and way of life. I can’t say I’ve ever read anything like it before, and it made me look at time travel in a new light. What may be exciting to the person travelling to the past can also be puzzling or even sometimes irritating to the individuals who must explain everything and have their routines thrown out of order.

I struggled with the slow pacing, especially later on once the main characters had all been introduced and the visitor from the future began to settle into rural life in 1825. While I wouldn’t expect this storyline to move as quickly as something set in the present day, there were plenty of opportunities for more conflict and adventure here that never came to fruition.

The world building was solid and dependable. Jane lived in a time and place when change happens slowly and, with the exception of the turning of the seasons, one day was generally more or less just like the one that came before it. Ms. McLeod explained the benefits of this sort of society nicely, and I enjoyed the subtle touches she added to explain certain social mores that are no longer culturally relevant for the average reader today. While they weren’t strictly necessary for understanding most scenes, they added a vibrant undercurrent to the plot that made me curious to find out what would happen to these characters next as Zeke accidentally disrupted everything.

The Tower’s Peculiar Visitor was a thoughtful read.

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