A Second Chance (Chronicles of St Mary's #3)
by Jodi Taylor
Review by Gayle Surrette
Accent Press Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781783756360
Date: 07 June 2014 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Max is once again at St. Mary's. She'd been gone for one day to a meeting, only to return to nearly everyone being a deep shade of blue. Not an emotional state referred to as blue, but a semi-permanent blue from head to toe. So, Max is required to take a friend of the director's on his dream trip to see Isaac Newton. Things do not go well. Isaac Newton steals a mirror from Max and then accuses them of theft when they try to take it back. A long chase ensues with Max and her elderly professor trying to elude Newton and others who joined the chase, but eventually they get to the pod and return to St. Mary's.
That's just the beginning. St. Mary's historians travel to historic events to watch them unfold. They are there to observe and not to take part or try to change events because History (with a capitol 'H') doesn't like that, and there are consequences to changing history. In A Second Chance, the action never stops. There are trips to view a cheese rolling in Gloucester (resulting in several breaks, strains, and concussions), the fall of Troy (checking to see how the wooden horse got through the gates among other issues), and Agincourt (checking on whether the king did indeed order the slaughter of the captives).
This series is a treasure trove of historical information. I can't claim that I know just how accurate this historical information is but it is exciting, makes history come alive, and it does make sense as a reasonable reconstruction of the events. Taylor's writing makes the reader feel as if they were there with the characters watching these events unfold before their eyes and with a strong emotional component to have to watch and yet not do anything.
The stories are also romances and the trip to Troy changes everything for those who took part in the trip. Readers who have been following the love story thread will wonder several times if there will be a happy ending. Will they get a second chance or not? Events can sometimes change lives and sometimes they can give them back. A Second Chance builds a strong story that keeps the pages turning while keeping the nonstop action going and the few short periods of rest seem to have their own high octane emotional content so that you'll be at the end before you realize it.
Luckily, the books are all out so readers can immediately turn to A Trail Through Time to find out what happens next -- I did.