Rating: 2/5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Elisabeth London is keeping her new friends a secret from her parents. Not only do they live on the other side of the world in the Scottish Highlands, they lived more than three hundred and fifty years ago. Her mom and dad would never allow her to go gallivanting about seventeenth century Scotland. They won’t even let her go to the mall by herself yet.
Twelve-year-old Elisabeth is old enough to know there is no such thing as magic, but when her quartz crystal necklace has the power to transport her back and forth in time, she no longer knows what to think. The only thing she is certain of is that she loves spending carefree days with Quinton, the mischievous nephew of a highland warrior, and sassy little Fiona, a farmer’s daughter.
However, Elisabeth’s adventures take a deadly turn when she is charged with witchcraft. At a time and place in history when witch-hunts were common, those found guilty were executed, children included. Elisabeth must race to find her way back home, while trying to stay one step ahead of the witch-hunter determined to see her burned at the stake.
Series status: Stand-alone novel
• Characters: 3/5 – some characterization but no strong characters to love or hate.
• Premise: 5/5 – this was the best part of the book; the magic and science elements were well mixed and it has a slight twist on a typical theme.
• Plot: 3/5 – there were some holes, but overall it was good and held interest.
• Pacing: 3/5 – I never found myself wanting to put the book down but neither was I captivated at any point.
• Dialogue: 1/5 – the children spoke believably but the adults sounded fake and all the dialogue felt forced and unreal. The Scottish dialect was badly done in some places.
• Imagery: 2/5 – no real description of the Scottish Highlands, which should have been a high point in a time travel piece. There was more ‘tell’ than ‘show’, with a tendency to bash the reader over the head with description rather than demonstrate.
• Voice: 1/5 – the point of view is third person past tense, but the writing is stiff and juvenile resulting in no clear voice from any of the characters or a narrator.
• Explicit scenes: none
• Love triangle: none
• Notes: The book is on the younger side of Young Adult, and I found it refreshing to read a story with no teenage angst and romance.
• Other: Short (193 pages in my .pdf format copy) almost a novella in length.
Other books I’ve read like The Acadian Secret:
With the time travel and Scottish Highlands it felt like a younger version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series, with young protagonists and without the romance.
Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander is similarly a time travel book for younger readers.
Final thoughts: this book was decent but not great. A simple read suitable for younger readers. I wanted to see more details, more imagery, and more interaction to make you love the characters.