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Ok, this one shocked me. I never, and I repeat, NEVER read series out of order. By nature I'm a sequential reader. You too?
If you are, you'll understand how crazy what I'm about to type is: I read Stay with Me , the third book in Jody Hedlund's Waters of Time series, BEFORE I read books 1 and 2.
I own books 1 and 2 and they are still on my unending TBR pile. They just got moved up to the top of list after finishing Stay with Me.
In my opinion Jody Hedlund is one of the most multifaceted and prolific authors in Christian fiction market in the past decade. Is there any genre she can't conquer?! I was never a fan of YA literature until I read her Noble Knights series and Viola! I was an instant fan. Her brand new Waters of Time series is a sci-fi /fantasy /dual time story. While sci-fi or fantasy are not genres I typically gravitate towards, I find myself becoming more of a fan under Ms. Hedlund's skilled storytelling.
Here's what so impressive: I skipped past books 1 and 2 and still loved this story. It stands on it's own and that takes incredibly deft writing to accomplish.
As a private investigator, Sybil Huxham learns of this "holy water" that can cure people and longs to find it to help her younger brother Dawson who was left blind due to an injury in the military. Finding a small amount of holy water in a vile, she drinks some and finds herself transported to 1382 to a castle dungeon where she meets Nicholas Worth, a nobleman in the Middle Ages who is falsely being accused of treason.
Both Sybil and Nicholas' reputations are on the line and they have little choice but to marry. I would say more, but that would ruin the suspense.
What attracted me to Nicholas as a hero was how he was a man of honor. He's attracted to Sybil, but he's not going to act on his longing for her until she's ready. Also, he really likes that she is independent and can fend for herself. Although he's still protractive over her even though he knows she can take care of herself. I liked that Nicholas didn't try to completely mold her into a woman of the Middle Ages.
To be honest, by the end of the book, I was a little in love with Nicholas Worth.
I like that Sybil brings her modern-day feisty, independent spirit to the 1300s. She does have to adapt somewhat to their dress and customs, but she didn't completely lose herself either.
Nicholas and Sybil's swoon-worthy-toe-melting kisses deserve their own paragraph. Wow! If it's possible for two fictional characters to scorch pages in a clean way, Ms. Hedlund succeeded with their passionate and intense love story. Still haven't fully recovered.
One aspect of Stay with Me that was intriguing was the juxtaposition of colliding worlds through Sybil and Nicholas. It definitely made for some humorous parts. Particularly with different clothing. There were some laugh out loud moments. My favorite minor character, Father Fritz, reminded me of Friar Tuck in Robin Hood. Not sure if this was the author's intention, but I pictured Friar Tuck whenever Father Fritz was on the page. Also, the village where Nicholas takes her to stay is hidden away and the archery also gave me major Robin Hood vibes - and that honestly made me further enjoy and gravitate towards this story.
I appreciated and resonated with the theme of Stay with Me, which is that God uses trials and hardships to grow us in ways that nothing else can.
This book was such a delight to read. I'm sure if you inexplicably broke with your normal pattern of reading series in order, you'd be happy with the read. That said after noting how thoroughly I enjoyed this book, I can heartedly recommend you immerse yourself in the Water's of Time series and enjoy the adventure Jody has created.
~~Stay With Me was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions expressed are my own, I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~~