Blog Tour: A Crown in Time – Jennifer Macaire

DISCLAIMER – I was sent a free copy of this book in return for a fair and unbiased review

‘The nurse in charge of freezing my molecules inserted a glowing needle into my arm and had me count backwards from ten. I got to zero and stared at her, perplexed.’

A Crown In TimeIn the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption. The Corrector Program at Tempus University is sending Isobel back in time, to the year 1270, to rewrite history.
Her mission? To save the crown of France.
If she follows the Corrector’s Handbook everything should run smoothly. But soon, Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed young noble on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.
Isobel must fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing one wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch . . .

 

What I thought

I think there are two starting points to this review. The first is that I really like the concept and the second is that I know next to nothing about this time in history.

This book starts in the future where time travel is a thing and is used by journalists to interview famous people in history and students/historians to study them. But you can only go once and people make mistakes, in this case a sixteen year old is listening at the door when he hears his mother being asked what she thinks about the crusades and decides to join them. Which in this case is not great cause he needs to have kids as his descendants will eventually take the French throne and presumably all have the name Louis.

This is where Isobel comes in she is recruited/volunteered/forced into becoming a Corrector – go back in time and correct the problem. Except there is no coming back from this trip like the journalists and historians get. Nope. She has two possible outcomes
Don’t fix it – the whole divergent time line gets destroyed
Fix it – live out the rest of her life free but in the past.
Because they recruit from jail. What else are you going to do with people who are already serving a life outside of society? If you send normal people you’ll lose their contribution but Isobel lost her right to contribute when she hit a child with her car while driving back from her boyfriends

I found her a really interesting character, she was clearly raped multiple times while in prison and is suffering PTSD from what she did and from the consequences of that action. Being thrown into the past is a boon but she’s still got to deal with her guilt and the world being so totally different. It would be heard enough if it was just 100 years in the past but this is over a thousand, the basic knowledge and things we take for granted not only aren’t there but mentioning them will have you killed for witchcraft

As I said in my opener I don’t really know anything about this part of history, even less about French history let alone a mix of the two. Below is my knowledge of the two coming into this book
French history: There were many many King Louis, the musketeers are a thing, and we – The English – killed Joan of Arc (my mum is French and whenever Joan D’Arc is brought up she passionately tells us that we killed her.)
Crusades in general: It mostly boils down to Richard the Lion-heart leaving King John in his place while he went and fought, and “King John was not a good man” (an A. A. Milne poem that I adore). Also this is the same time as Robin Hood. I couldn’t tell you how many crusades there were or where the battles were, I know the idea was to free the Holy Lands but the logistics were not part of my education – although I briefly remember touching upon it in year 8 (age 13).

Also sex isn’t taboo as the Church isn’t powerful enough yet. Which is weird and really shows the power of the Church, I know in ancient times – the Greeks and Romans kind of ancient times – sex was just a thing and being celibate or monogamous was weird. But when the year has 4 digits in it, I don’t think of it as ancient and I assume that sex is a secret and unspoken thing. Because that’s all you learn about in history classes. About how women were second class, an how just showing an ankle was to rage against God. The amount of times I did the Tudors, the Victorians, and WWII you’d think that was all there was. (I’m British so I studied British history which is why I was able to reel off Henry’s six wives and the way they died when I was 8. You have failed your primary school education if you do not know what order the Catherine’s came in, the Anne’s and if they escaped or not.)
Going back to sex, taboo and God. The crusades were holy wars and religion a major part of their lives. And yet… and yet having sex as a way to seal the deal, or outside of the marriage was fine. Not even that in a lot of cases it’s expected. For me I think this highlighted my lack of knowledge of the era the most, because it’s not just kings/queens and wars I don’t know about it’s the general culture and way of life. It’s at this point that the Church gains enough power to be able to implement rules and beliefs upon society as a whole and not just not serving dinner before Vespers.

I really enjoyed Isobel’s friendship with the young queen and how that formed, I liked that she was able to forget that she knew how these crusades were going to go for the queen personally and forget the one line in the books she read about how she died. Because a) it’s hard to think about how a person died when they are alive right in front of you and b) it was LITERALLY JUST ONE THROW AWAY LINE BECAUSE WHY WOULD HISTORIANS WRITE ABOUT THE WOMEN. ‘Oh by the way, she falls off a horse and dies…’

Finally, the romance felt a bit forced at times. I do think it was real for Jean and Isobel used it as something to keep her going, not only with her mission but as a way of dealing with her PTSD. She has something to focus on; a future (albiet in the past) and not on her personally past. I definitely saw a couple of things coming but that didn’t impact my enjoyment.

Why I read it

I was offered a free copy for review and I was interested because of the idea of time travel as punishment. Also I don’t know much about this time period even though my (French) mother would be horrified at my lack of knowledge of the French crusades

Final Thought

I had a lot of fun with this book. The concept is a great one and the setting an unusual one and not much I know much/if anything about. I loved Isobel and her growth and how she learnt to deal with 1270 and the crusades.
I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for more by this author

Did I enjoy it? Yes. I had lots of fun with this book
Am I glad I read it? Definitely.
Would I read again? Probably.
Would I recommend? I already have, for anyone at all interested in learning a bit more about this part of history I would definitely suggest it.

2 thoughts on “Blog Tour: A Crown in Time – Jennifer Macaire

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