Friday, November 13, 2009

Merlin's Daughter by Patricia Scott

TITLE: Merlin’s Daughter
AUTHOR: Patricia Scott
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 35k)
GENRE: Time travel romance
COST: $4.50

In a quest to prove her family is entwined with the Semples, Sara Templeton goes to England and the Semple Manor House in search of answers. There, she meets a man who looks like the one she’s been dreaming of, and when she suddenly finds herself thrust back in time, in the role of one of her ancestors, she realizes the man she knew in the present is also in the past…

Though there might be a good idea somewhere in this novella, it’s lost amidst the technical weaknesses of the prose. It starts almost from the beginning. The prologue can’t decide on a verb tense, and it jerks me out of the story almost before it’s begun. It doesn’t improve very much once it starts, either. There’s continuity problems (the hero calls the heroine by name without being told it, a guide refers to Sara’s family history when Sara never said a word about being her family, and so on), there’s information dumps (how many times did I need to learn about the silver buckle at the auction?), and spelling mistakes (i.e., cliental for clientele). With that much going wrong – not to mention the excessive passive voice – it’s very hard to get into it.

Sara arrives in England and watches a battle re-enactment, and when she notices the Parliamentarian General, is immediately drawn to him: …His eyes met hers only briefly but for a second or so they were fused together, and inexplicably her heart leapt and somersaulted inside her. She swallowed hard and felt dizzy, her hands trembling… This kind of over-the-top reaction is typical of the heroine. She’s drawn to him, and then, out of the blue, decides she doesn’t like him. It continues when she goes back in time, and the muddy characterization turns into a headache. There is no indication of any kind of romance on her part – because she’s so against him – until over halfway through, and then, it all happens on the turn of a dime. None of it’s helped with the lack of clarity on who or why or how Sara is back in time. She understands everything that was going on, like she was in a dream, and yet, she wasn’t the old Sara but the present day Sara. There’s never a proper balance struck, and it triggered another headache to muddle through.

I just can’t think of much in this that might recommend it. A good idea just isn’t enough.


4/10 – Passive voice, lack of clarity, continuity errors, spelling mistakes…there was just so much wrong with this, it took me forever to slog through


4/10 – Seems nice enough, but the characterizations in this are so flat that it’s hard to see any kind of potential


3/10 – Personality is all over the place, with no rational explanations for some her snap judgments

Entertainment value

3/10 – It could have been a nice idea if there’d been any sort of clarity or consistency

World building

5/10 – Bare bones, mostly on the historical stuff



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