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  • Timeless Lessons

    The opening scene in Tangle of Time is of a female drowning. Distressing and disorienting as that is, it prepares the reader for the thrash and thrust of this fast-paced, time-bender of an adventure story that collides four young friends from the 21st century into the era of California’s mid-nineteenth-century past. As is true in all time-travel stories, there’s a requisite suspension of disbelief, but once the reader lets go of logic, they’re in for a compelling, social-theme packed ride. As we tumble back in time with Mae, Greg, Dexter and Toke, we land in post Lewis and Clark, pre-statehood, pre-gold rush Alta California. The customs and scarcities of pioneers and Native peoples are revealed with one interesting encounter after another. As if being dropped into a history-depicting diorama, the scenes are immersive and well developed: food gathering, shelter, medicine and social constructs are all there to navigate. The culture clashes between the cell-phone/world at their fingertips, modern-sensibility young adults and the folks of old that they encounter is both amusing and horrifying. The use of dialog among the various characters is especially entertaining. Without being too heavy handed, Tangle of Time calls into question a number of assumptions about the past and the present. The comforts of today’s modern conveniences are contrasted with a less chaotic but more labor-intensive lifestyle from a time gone by, begging the question of who had it better. In one scene we see a mini mart shopping spree, while in another is the hunting, skinning and cooking procedures of the wild frontier. Whether it be through the challenges to physical safety or in the loyalty to friends, family or tribe, hardship and humanity play out on every page. I finished this first of a three-book series with a strong sense that survival and the pursuit of love, happiness and connection are timeless.

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