Emma is sent to meet the Earl of Wye and her fate is forever sealed. Upon standing by the doorway she sees a man that resembles a Viking God (I keep picturing Chris Hemsworth). Naked in all his glory and readying himself for a woman laid out in front of him, all Emma notices is “that pearly drop” beckoning her to have a taste. ~ Alyn, Guilty Pleasures
Emma knows time travel’s impossible. So, the only other explanation for her going to sleep on Halloween night in 2013 and waking up in Wales in the year 1763 is that she’s insane. There’s a murdered girl, a coach ticket to Wye Castle, and a letter of employment to be governess to the Earl of Wye’s daughter. What’s a gal to do but go with the flow?
Wolf-shifter Ian, Earl of Wye, recognizes Emma as his mate instantly and senses she’s in danger. He knows Emma’s harboring a deep, dark secret. But, no matter what he does, she won’t confide in him. Then he finds Emma wounded and rambling about nine white gorgons who attacked her. The hounds of hell are Ian’s nemeses, and the fact they’ve reappeared in the mortal world after centuries of banishment can only mean one thing…
Review copy provided for an honest review
When this book was first presented to me I had to snicker at the title. I asked myself “is it really about that “pearly drop”?” As I dove into the first few pages, I was intrigued at the idea of a time travel series. When I saw that the heroine of the story was from Boca Raton, Florida, I was hooked out of curiosity. I grew up in Boca Raton and it is a rarity that I see stories take place in the “Beverly Hills” of Florida. It made me wonder how a young woman who is used to the upscale, multicultural melting pot known as South Florida, would survive in 18th century England.
The story begins with a very confused Emma Maria Perez. Only two days earlier, she was in Boca with her friends and very excited about her trip to Europe. Fast forward 24 hours and Emma is spending October 31, 2013 in London and had just visited Stonehenge. The weather had turned sour rather fast and Emma and her friend were diverted to the Ratfyn Inn. Making the mistake of drinking wine and taking a sleeping pill, Emma was a tad out of sorts but still could not sleep through the booming thunderstorm outside her window. When she discovers that her friend is outside in the storm, she quickly runs to bring her in and cannot recall what happened next. Upon waking up, all Emma knows is that she is still in the same place, but certainly not in the same time. Is it a dream? When she rushes back to the Ratfyn Inn, there is no one to be found. No one alive at least. Inside one of the rooms, a young woman has met an untimely demise. Murder? All Emma can find is 3 gold coins, a coach ticket to Wye Castle, a trunk with some complex pieces of women’s clothing, and two letters regarding a young woman by the name of Diana Manley, who was to begin working as a governess at Wye Castle. With no real options left, Emma assumes the identity of Miss Manley and finds her way to Wye.
Upon arrival, Emma is met by a few skeptical employees but stands her ground and insists that she is the new governess. With much hesitance, she is sent to meet the Earl of Wye and her fate is forever sealed. Upon standing by the doorway she sees a man that resembles a Viking God (I keep picturing Chris Hemsworth). Naked in all his glory and readying himself for a woman laid out in front of him, all Emma notices is “that pearly drop” beckoning her to have a taste. When his eyes meet hers, embarrassment takes over. In a haze of a day she is shown to her room, given her instructions, and introduced to the men that often inhabit Wye Castle. Also included in her introductions, are the little ladies that Emma is to watch over: 7 year olds Fiona and Alice.
Determined to hide the evidence of when she is really from, Emma stashes her bag, her phone, and her photos. Doing her best to fit in, she falls into her role as a Governess in her ill-fitting dress and quickly builds a routine with her charges. She learns that the three gorgeous men that often accompany Ian, The Earl of Wye (her naked Viking) are his cousins, Cian, Colin, and Cameron McBrodie who Emma has fondly named The C-Men. They have all taken responsibility to guard Fiona after her father; the original Earl of Wye disappeared a short time earlier. Emma has also learned that fitting in is not very easy. While she speaks English just like those in Wye, her euphemisms and expressions are unusual to those of the year 1763. This often creates some funny discussions and interesting excuses.
Within all of the humorous encounters that highlight why Emma does not fit in, there is an underlying subtext: why is she there? Somehow she was transported to the year 1763 and was able to take the place of Diana Manley after her murder despite the fact that she knew they didn’t think she was Diana. She keeps seeing monsters that look like Hellhounds and cannot understand why. Her charge, Fiona has an imaginary friend but everyone seems to believe he is real. Emma’s belongings from the 21st century have gone missing which means someone knows her secret. She is drawn to Ian but knows that the woman who was with him the first time she saw him is trying to claim him for herself. What is worse, is when she looks at her, she sees a monster. All of these occurrences seem unrelated but when they all come together, it makes perfect sense. All of this set into motion, the moment Emma saw “that pearly drop”.
I truly enjoyed this novel and found it to be a fun read. While the novel does involve time travel, it dives into the paranormal realm and I was pleasantly surprised every time a new twist occurred in the story. I wasn’t sure how the author would explain the time travel aspect and found the explanations intriguing but the story still left me hanging in regards to Emma’s actual occurrence and how she came to be at Wye castle. The supporting characters in the story add some depth and character that bring out the difficulties of being a woman in high society during the time period. I could almost picture myself sitting at a table being criticized by an old woman that is dressed to resemble a peacock while telling me I am holding my teacup improperly. In this I am reminded of the film Mrs. Winterbourne, when the matriarch and her son are well aware that the woman in their lives is not who she claims, but they accept her anyway and do everything to protect her and claim her as their own. Ian, the McBrodie brothers, and their family, are fiercely protective of Emma and watch over her more than she realizes. She often wonders at their speed, their agility, and the unusual weather that often follows them (If I tell you more, I would be giving away the true heart of the story).
The dynamic between Ian and Emma is beautiful. He is willing to give his heart and Emma’s uncertainty brings out a vulnerability that is not often shown in such a strong male character. He proves his point well when showing Emma what her hesitance does to him (you might want to throw the book against the wall for a moment) but when push comes to shove, he will risk everything to show her they are fated, and that Emma’s past is not at all what she thinks it is. She is slowly realizing that her entire future may indeed lie in the past, and she and Ian were destined to be with one another even if across time.