The Wishing Chalice
Time travel books can be very difficult to read and write. For one, you have to decide how the person travels back in time, how they are going to deal with their predicament, and if they are going to go back to their own time in the end. These types of books can be very confusing or, if the reader is lucky, very easing to understand. One of the main reasons that The Wishing Chalice works is that the author does not bog the reader down with scientific information on time travel and yet she still makes it seem believable.
Isabel Herbert led what could be considered an unconventional childhood, traveling the world with her nomadic parents. She never really had a home, and now, in her twenties, she has no family. Her parents have died, she has suffered a miscarriage, and her marriage is over. She is completely alone, living in a small cottage in the heart of England. One day while walking through the countryside Isabel literally stumbles upon an old chalice. She picks up the vessel to study it with her artistic eye, when suddenly a terrible storm erupts. With nowhere else to go, she seeks the safety of a nearby castle ruins. While waiting for the storm to pass, the chalice suddenly begins to glow in her hand; mist swirls around her body as she peers into the cup and sees a picture of a perfect, adoring couple. She can feel the love emanating from the scene and wishes more than anything that she could feel what they feel. It is when she makes that wish that the world suddenly fades to black.
Hunter was born a bastard in Medieval England to a woman who most believe was a witch. Despite a lifetime of taunts and hard knocks, Hunter pulls himself out of his dire situation to become a knight. Now, because of a good deed, suddenly Hunter’s greatest wish has come true. Not only has he inherited a castle of his own, but also the love of his life, Lady Detra. Life though, is not nearly as perfect as Hunter had expected, for Detra wants nothing to do with him. It is during an argument that Detra discovers the one gift his mother ever left him, a supposedly magical chalice. They struggle over possession of the chalice, but when it begins to glow they lose consciousness.
When Isabel awakens, she finds herself in a strange and unfamiliar place with no idea of how she got there. What is even worse is the realization that not only are her surroundings totally unfamiliar, but her body is as well. Isabel has been thrown back hundreds of years and into another woman’s body. This, of course, sounds completely bizarre, yet Landry has a way of making us eventually forget, as if it is totally normal. After a while Isabel accepts the fact that she is in Detra’s body and that Detra is most likely in Isabel’s body. But she cannot tell Hunter the truth, for he would never believe her. Hunter is definitely confused, and rightly so, about his wife’s new attitude. She claims to have lost her memory, but is it another ploy to keep him at arm’s length? She speaks strangely, her actions are bizarre, but suddenly she is reacting to his touch and he reluctantly believes her.
Isabel does not want to be attracted to another woman’s husband and feels incredibly guilty that Detra has been pulled from the arms of her loving husband. Although there is something about Hunter that makes her feel instantly connected to the man, she knows she must find the chalice and restore Detra and herself to their rightful bodies. Hunter knows she wants the chalice, yet fortune, or maybe the magic of the chalice, has caused Detra to turn into the woman he has always wanted. There is no way he will let her get her hands on the vessel so that her memory may return. Isabel spends her days searching for the chalice and fighting her growing attraction to Hunter. Hunter, meanwhile, spends his days hiding the chalice from her and trying to stoke the fire of their attraction.
Isabel soon realizes Hunter and Detra’s marriage was far from perfect, and discovers that Detra had an affair with a nearby neighbor, who just so happens to be Hunter’s nemesis. It is when this neighbor sends for Hunter’s help against the invading Scots that the answers to many secrets come to the forefront and the action increases. Accusations are made, guilt and innocence must be proven and decided, and to free herself from the ear of being taken from Hunter, Isabel must confront that fear head on.
Fans of time travel romance should enjoy this one, and while it’s interesting to see how Isabel deals with being in an unfamiliar place and body, she seems to accept her situation too quickly. Hunter is a sensitive and loving hero, but the reader never really understands why he loved Detra. She acted horribly towards him, so I can only surmise that he was in love with her beauty. Had Hunter been more developed as a character I’d have enjoyed the book even more.
Even with these minor complaints, the reader is almost immediately drawn into The Wishing Chalice. How Isabel deals with time travel, what she will do to get back to her own time and the constant state of drama keep the reader intrigued. Landry has a great way of describing her surroundings so that the reader feels she is there, without boring the reader with too much detail. She also does a thorough job at explaining time travel without becoming too scientific and confusing. Time traveling and body switching can be rather intimidating and confusing subjects to write about, yet Landry does so with ease.