Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication date: June 25, 2019
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus's deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.
Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor--the young employee at Sotheby's whom Marcus has fallen for--is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he'd escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both--forever.
A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time's Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history, and a love affair that will bridge centuries.
In a return to Deborah Harkness’s All Souls world, we learn about Marcus’s past and get a ringside view of his fiance Phoebe’s transition to a vampire. The story jumps between Marcus’s story - past and present - and Phoebe’s present. The story overall is a slow burn. There aren’t many tense moments or charged scenes. It’s slow and meandering storytelling, but it worked and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As Marcus stays separated from Phoebe while she transitions, he struggles with something from his past. Diana, a weaver, can see the strands of time around Marcus pulling him to some old history that is worrying him in the modern-day. Through gentle nudging, Diana pulls the stories from Marcus and helps him come to terms with the issues from his past keeping him from fully opening himself up to his future with Phoebe. The flashback scenes to the American Revolution and Marcus’s time in New Orleans following it were really intriguing. It felt like an authentic glimpse into a bygone time. The parts about how troops were inoculated against smallpox were interesting (and terrifying! - made me thankful for modern vaccines, that’s for sure).
Together, it created a book that was part historical fiction, part modern romance, and part vampire tale. It was very different than the other All Souls books, without the tension of real danger filling the pages. Regardless, I think anyone who enjoyed those books will enjoy this journey into Marcus’s and Phoebe’s stories. We learn to love Ysabeauand Diana all over again and learn more about some other characters from the main trilogy. Now, when is Gallowglass getting his book?
Author’s site: https://deborahharkness.com/