Friday, June 27, 2014

A Whisper In Time (Whisper Falls #2) by Elizabeth Langston

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I have never been useless in my life.

Rescued from a life of servitude by the boy she loves, Susanna Marsh escapes across two centuries, only to be plunged into a world she's ill-prepared to face. Unable to work or go to school, Susanna finds herself dependent on others to survive.

Immersed in the fun and demands of his senior year of high school, Mark Lewis longs to share his world with the girl who's captured his heart. But first he must tackle government bureaucracy to prove Susanna's identity.

Overwhelmed by her new home, Susanna seeks refuge in history and in news of the people she left behind. But when she learns that danger stalks her sister, Susanna must weigh whether to risk her own future in order to save Phoebe's happiness.

If you were ever under the impression that time travel would go swimmingly and that you’d easily fit into whenever you end up, A Whisper In Time would be the reality dose you need.  It’s just as charming as its predecessor, Whisper Falls, this time focusing on how Mark and Susanna are going to set about their respective futures.

After escaping eighteenth century North Carolina, Susanna spends weeks recuperating from her illness and injuries she sustained at the hands of her previous master. Once her health is back again she must learn to adjust to a whole new world. Talk about culture shock! It’s not just things that are new that she has to get used to but also a far more progressive mentality. Some things come easily to her while others are harder for her to acclimate to.

What stands out in this is Susanna’s loss of identity in two ways. In her century, she knew her place and her purpose regardless of the awful circumstances she was in. In this century, she feels useless and isolated to an extent.  Having to make her way by leaving her past behind is frightening but has no choice – there’s no way she can return to what she escaped from. Her identity problem is also hampered by the fact that in order to stay and be a fully functional citizen in this century, she has to be able to pursue an education and get a job. To do both, she has to prove who she is. Obtaining an identity for her is a huge priority here. While Susanna is puzzled and exacerbated by this century’s obsession with identity, Mark is determined to do whatever it takes to get her one.  

Langston effectively captures how Susanna's presence in the current century impacts her and Mark. Susanna’s sense of directionless and Mark’s dilemma with wanting to be with her but also wanting to enjoy his senior year of high school and prepare for college. Mark at one point even refers to their relationship as “long distance” which is quite spot on as they do tend to have a few communication problems. He's constantly torn between trying to include her but also protecting her from scrutiny. Her secrets are hers to tell and he doesn't want to have to explain to others why Susanna is the way she is. 

Susanna’s need to keep up with her family’s welfare take on urgency as the story progresses. She’s desperate to know that she’s made the right decision for her sister Phoebe. In order to do so, she takes certain risks that alter history. Even as she weighs the consequences, her loyalty and stubbornness can’t deter her from protecting the ones she loves. She's admirable that way. She doesn't apologize for her decisions and forthright about her intentions most of the time.

I’ve said it before about this series – if you fancy history and adventure, sprinkled with romance, A Whisper In Time will suit you just fine. The back and forth through past and present North Carolina highlighting the changes and progress are fascinating. And experiencing some of these changes through Susanna’s eyes will only wow you. In the end, it's also about how two people from two drastically different backgrounds, who fall in love and try to make things work.

~ Bel

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