Plot: A historical romance with a scifi twist, this is E.C. Roderick’s debut novel and the first in her proposed Taken series. Sylvie Arboles, a pediatrician based in LA, but traveling to the East Coast to visit her family for Christmas, lost her husband and infant “to an untimely death,” and now she is unexpectedly transported via a car accident and an earthquake to pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts Bay Colony where the British and French are at war. She is immediately taken captive, but soon proves her skills as a doctor. Sylvie’s inability to understand what has happened to her is one of the most compelling features of the novel, adding verisimilitude to a story that might otherwise just seem too fantastic to engage the reader. Sylvie must decide who she can trust and what the implications are of falling in love with someone from such a different timeline.
Prose/Style: With a middle school readability, this novel is easily accessible, but the author has added some unnecessary and distracting detail that slows down the 100,000-word story without adding to the understanding of the action or the characters.
Originality: E.C. Roderick has done an exceptional job of making this historical romance unique, first in the having the main character be a contemporary woman who time travels 275 years into the past.
Character Development/Execution: Sylvie is not quite sure who is delusional. It could be herself, or it could be that the other characters, dressed in costumes and re-enacting historical events, are taking themselves much too seriously. The reader is invited to share the tension this creates and to sympathize with Sylvie as she tries to figure out her situation. Sylvie must contend with all of this confusion at the same time as she is still grieving her husband and child and figuring out whether she can allow herself to love again.
Blurb: A historical romance with a scifi twist, Taken takes us into a world where two realities, that of twenty-first century widow and doctor Sylvie Arbole, and that of pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts Bay Colony where the British and French are at war, exist simultaneously.
Date Submitted: July 31, 2021