Over the sea, once from the sky.
First Published: 17th December 2012
Date Reviewed: 26th March 2013
So Alex chose to remain with her 1600s husband. But the tensions between Matthew and his brother Luke have not weakened – Matthew finds himself abducted and aboard a ship bound for the new world. As a slave with no rights it will be up to Alex to save him; and of course amongst this there is always the future, the time of Alex’s birth, and those she left there.
Like Chaff In The Wind is the second book in the Graham series, and, it must be said, a strong step up from the previous book. Belfrage has expanded on her topic, filling it with events and complexities that make it more gripping than A Rip In The Veil, and whilst there are still issues there’s the suggestion that any further books will continue to build on these new strengths.
One of the biggest reasons this novel succeeds is Mrs Gordon, who provides a nice balance to the main two, being less impulsive, a winner of hearts for good reason, and realistic. Indeed the character development in this book is much better overall; although Alex and Matthew are of course the same people, the reader gets a lot more information about them. It is thus a lot easier to appreciate them.
Where A Rip In The Veil spent little time in the 21st century, Like Chaff In The Wind hands the period a good portion of space. Belfrage answers questions and allows the ‘younger’ family to become important in their own right. And just when you think she might let it peter out again she dives straight back into the fantasy to produce a plot point that is welcome, fitting, and appealing. Speaking of time, more characters get to hear of Alex’s background, which inevitably makes matters more interesting and fun.
This writing, too, is better, however here we come to the negative aspects. The book suffers from many of the problems the previous book did. The characters still end questions with “no?”, when it doesn’t fit their overall usage of English, and there is a vast amount of editing and grammatical errors that detract from the story. There is also a lack of spacing between some scenes, meaning that you may need to pause for a moment so that the sudden jump in situations doesn’t feel so wrong (because with adequate spacing it wouldn’t, normally).
The plot is strong on the whole, but it does follow the basic pattern of violence, argument, sex. Again there is a lot of violence and a lot of sex, and again one must try to suspend beliefs in the way this 21st century British woman acts in a society of male domination. This copious violence and sex take precedent; the reader will have to decide whether the family feud, considering the years covered in the book, isn’t going on a bit too long given the back and forth of the vengeance.
But overall, Like Chaff In The Wind is a major progression. The characters are memorable, the time travel is exciting, and the good use of history is continued. There are problems but its hard to say that the book isn’t enjoyable. If the reader deems it possible to start with the second book that is perhaps recommended, but either way you might find here a story to love.
I received this book for review from the author for Historical Fiction Virtual Author Tours.
March 27, 2013, 11:31 am
This just sounds too much like the Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon. I stopped with the second one there, so I think I’m more likely to go on with that one than to start this one. I’m glad you’re enjoying them! It seems as though you liked this one even more than the first.
March 27, 2013, 2:00 pm
Laurie brought up what I was going to say. It really does remind me of the Outlander series. The only difference is, I loved them.
Have you read any Patrick O’Brian?
March 27, 2013, 3:10 pm
Nice review — I’m working on my review of both books now — I feel very similarly to you. I read the Outlander book a long time ago — in high school, maybe, and wasn’t swept away — and while the plot is similar to Gabaldon’s, the feel of the books is different.
April 2, 2013, 6:31 pm
Laurie: I did, it was a lot better. I feel at such a loss not being able to compare them to Outlander, though!
Jenn: I haven’t but I seem to remember reading a review of his work a short while ago. As you’ve mentioned him in this context I’ll have a look.
Audra: *Forgets adding Outlander to TBR, adds it to buy next shopping trip list*