Thursday, September 7, 2017

[Throwback Review]: "A Touch of Enchantment"

Another Throwback Review from Jen, this time for a time travel romance involving a mysterious amulet.

A Touch of Enchantment by Teresa Medeiros
Publisher: Bantam (January 26, 2011)
Series: Lennox Family Magic Series, 2
Genre: Time Travel Romance

From the bestselling author of Breath of Magic and Shadows and Lace comes a beguiling new time-travel love story in the hilarious, magical voice that has made Teresa Medeiros one of the nation's most beloved romance writers.

Heiress Tabitha Lennox considered her paranormal talents more a curse than a gift. So she dedicated her life to the cold, rational world of science. Until the day she examined the mysterious amulet her mother had left her and found herself catapulted seven centuries into the past—directly into the path of a rearing black charger ridden by a chain-mailed warrior.

Sir Colin of Ravenshaw had returned from the Crusades to find his castle in ruins, his enemy poised to overrun the land where generations of Ravenshaws had ruled. The last thing he expected was to half trample a damsel with odd garb and even odder manners. But it is her strange talent that will create trouble beyond Colin's wildest imaginings. For everyone knows that a witch must be burned...but it is Colin's heart that is aflame, over an enchanting woman he must not love, yet cannot live without.

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Jen's Review:

The 1990s was the decade of time-travel romances--I blame Outlander. A Touch of Enchantment was released back in 1997, the second in a series about the Lennox family witches. Back in the day, I really loved Teresa Medeiros. From what I remembered, her books contained charming characters with a great deal of humor. I honestly wish there was more humor in romance---or if there’s a secret hidden stash of humorous romances, that you’d all tell me where they are hiding.

In this book, reluctant witch Tabitha Lennox accidentally catapults herself and her cat Lucy back in time to the year 1254. For some reason, even though she leaves New York, she ends up in Scotland (of course) and meets a super-hot Scotland laird (of course). Colin is young and handsome, but he is also grievously injured and on the losing end of a tangle with an English lord. Tabitha and Colin are quickly picked up by the bad guy and thrown in a dungeon. Already, this book was really going against type. The book focuses on the adventures of Tabitha and Colin as they try to restore his reputation and his lands.

As a romance goes---it’s solid and what you’d expect. However, the charm of the book is in the way that Tabitha doesn’t even bother to hide her 21st century knowledge. She wins over the villagers with her knowledge of pop music, modern hygiene, and simple mechanics. She’s a fierce believer in the idea that women can and should fight alongside their men. She loves junk food and at one point magically conjures up some Big Macs, prompting a joke about special sauce that made me laugh. During a climactic battle scene, she teaches everyone to march along while belting out Do You Hear the People Sing from Les Mis.

I didn’t remember much and it felt like a pretty new reading experience for me. Every once in awhile, I’d have a glimmer of recognition, but for the most part, 20 years of living just wiped away all memory of this book. Going in, there was only one thing I vividly remembering about this book, and that’s the end where Tabitha is able to return to the modern time (it’s actually 2020 in the book, which I had forgotten. Always weird when old books set in the future start to catch up to themselves) and she requests aspirin and tampons. Lol. Can you even imagine the care packages you’d need to survive in 1254?

I’ll tell you what I had completely forgotten: the way issues of war play out in this book. The bad guy levels Colin’s castle and surrounding lands while he’s away fighting in the Crusades. I’ll be honest, I was pretty uncomfortable with the talk of “infidels”  and the brothels of that strange and exotic (yes, that word is used) foreign land of Egypt. Of course Colin is a man of his time, but a major theme in the book is Tabitha teaching Colin to think in a more modern way. She shows him that witches are not Satan’s handmaidens and that women have agency; so it was impossible to miss that Tabitha allows Colin, and by extension the reader, to leave equally antiquated and Orientalist and Islamophobic ways of thinking about the Crusades to go unchallenged.

Horrifyingly, the bad guy also raped every female, including old women and young girls, in Colin’s kingdom when he was gone. This is not on page, but rather it’s the aftermath, especially for one particular young girl. The focus was on how women survive and recover from these horrors. I’m not sure how I felt about how it played out, but rape was and is a weapon of war, and the book does not romanticize it at all.

Overall, A Touch of Enchantment is a good read. It has humor and the chemistry between Colin and Tabitha is strong. There’s a good cast of supporting characters. However, it’s honestly inexplicable to me why a 20 year old romance is selling for $7.99. If you can get it from your library, go for it. But it’s a lot of money for an nostalgic time-travel romance.

3 1/2 STARS! 

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Jen bought this book.

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Thanks for the review, Jen! I have this one on my list already but will definitely look for it at the library. You're right -- for an older release, $8 is a bit much! Hell, $8 is too much for a new release, but that's a different discussion. 

Have you read Teresa Medeiros? Or do you have a favorite time travel romance from the 90s/2000s?

Also! If you have any recommendations for romances with lots of humor, let Jen -- and myself! -- know below.


Until Next Time,

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