No Time Like the Past (Chronicles of St. Mary's)
by Jodi Taylor
Review by Gayle Surrette
Night Shade Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781783759057
Date: 01 July 2015 List Price $11.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
St. Mary's was in bad shape at the end of the last book. It's now rebuilt and nearly as good as new. However, they are understaffed in some areas and they really need to get a new project in the works. First there's Mr. Markham claiming he can see someone being thrown from the roof, only no one else can see this body. A bit of research takes them back to an earlier time in the life of the building that is St. Mary's. There are a few surprises for our historians when things don't go quite as they thought they would.
While things never quite go as expected when historians travel in time, No Time Like the Past can be taken quite literally, as the past is not quite what they expect it to be like. But is that because they are there to observe, or because it needs them there so that things will happen as they should? Since History hits back when anyone tries to change it, trying to decide what to do can have severe consequences.
Clive Ronan is back and he's not any saner or less vindictive. He turns up with deadly consequences for St. Mary's historians and support staff. Deciding who is worse, Ronan or Isabella "Izzy" Barclay will be tricky but, it's up to the reader to decide.
On the history side, this time St. Mary's travels to the Great Fire of London, the battle of the 300 at Thermopylae, and the Bonfire of the Vanities. Readers who maybe never cared about history before just might find that it is not dry and boring after all, in spite of the best efforts of some educational instructors. History in the St. Mary's Chronicles teams with common people who live in the time period and have to deal with the events and how they impact their lives. It's not history to them but their lives.
The results of these trips through the past will determine not only whether history remains constant but whether St. Mary's survives. Because if they don't produce results they don't get funding and they need funding.