Times of Turmoil

The Time Locket Book 2

Romance - Historical
443 Pages
Reviewed on 09/27/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Times of Turmoil is the second installment in Anna Belfrage's The Time Locket series, following The Whirlpools of Time. The series begins with Duncan Melville in 1715, searching for companionship after his father's death. However, he unexpectedly time-travels to 2016, where he meets Erin Barnes, and their bond grows as they navigate perilous adventures in both time periods. In this sequel, Duncan and Erin work to establish a peaceful life with their twin daughters but face relentless foes, including the vengeful Armand Joseph Chardon and his sons. Erin's confrontation with child abuse adds to their troubles, while Duncan's cousin seeks refuge, Nicholas Farrell reappears, and Erin's vulnerability as a woman of color in a dangerous era further complicates their existence.

As a person of color the standout of Anna Belfrage's series, and Times of Turmoil in particular, is the struggle of Erin and the radical shift of 300 years that, sadly, shows how little things have changed. As a father, I am always on the lookout for books with characters my daughters can see themselves represented in, and Belfrage gives this to us, wrapped up in a supremely engrossing time travel epic. There is a line where Duncan says, “This is what a white man considers is his right to subject a coloured woman to.” It's beautiful and disheartening all at once. The plot itself is dynamic and fast-paced, with unexpected twists and turns. The use of ruses and strategies amplifies this, and all of the characters are multi-dimensional, with their own motivations and flaws. Belfrage's writing is able to evoke strong emotions of empathy, anger, and hope, and this follow-up in the Time Locket series is a solid, worthy read. Very highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Times of Turmoil is a work of fiction penned by author Anna Belfrage in the time travel, fantasy, and historical romance subgenres, and forms the second novel in The Time Locket series. The work is best suited to the general adult reading audience. As readers, we are invited to delve into the challenges faced by the Melville family in 1718 as they strive for a peaceful life amidst a backdrop of danger and enmity. As the threats and challenges intensify, the suspense builds, and Duncan and Erin’s desire for a life free from fear only compounds their determination to build a harmonious life for their twin daughters in a tumultuous world.

Author Anna Belfrage has crafted a deeply engaging work of historical fantasy that is packed to the rafters with emotionally charged scenes. The characters, especially Duncan and Erin, are well-developed and relatable, with compelling dialogue that digs deeply into their psyche and also showcases the many complex dynamics of their relationship. The novel weaves together multiple storylines, from Erin's courageous stand against child abuse to the return of a vengeful figure from their past. These elements create a complex narrative that keeps the reader engaged throughout with plenty of engaging twists and good pacing. Belfrage also shines a light on important social issues of the time, such as racial prejudice and the plight of women. Erin's experiences as a woman of color in a society that discriminates against her offer a unique insight that teaches lessons to take with you long after finishing the novel. Overall, Times of Turmoil is a beautifully written historical novel that combines rich character development with a gripping plot, making it a must-read for fans of the genre.

Alex Ndirangu

Times of Turmoil is the second novel in The Time Locket series. Penned by Anna Belfrage, the book transports us to 1718 Chester County, Pennsylvania. When Erin Melville saves twelve-year-old Tim from an abusive indenture, trouble creeps into the Papegoja plantation. Tim knows something of great value that his former master, Hyland Nelson, can't risk losing. But the boy won't say anything to anyone, especially not to a master whose actions toward him were nothing short of brutal. Determined to get Tim back, Nelson secretly sneaks into the plantation. There, tragedy strikes, sending Nelson's kin seeking to make Erin pay. The plot further thickens when Duncan Melville's cousin, who is fleeing an abusive marriage, seeks asylum at the Papegoja plantation. Lettie's husband will stop at nothing to get her back—something Duncan will not take lying down. Worse yet, an enemy Erin and her husband thought had perished is back and determined to crush, if not drag, Duncan through whirlpools of time into a burning hell.

While this is the second book, it reads as a standalone. Anna Belfrage leads the reader through the plot development at a good pace, as the novel's middle ultimately resolves all the diversionary elements at the start. The author expertly weaves mystery, action, and suspense to deliver the epic and poignant story of a family striving to build a peaceful and quiet life in the face of enemies and constant danger. The reader never knows what they'll discover on the next page and is along for a vivid and intense ride. As upheaval and turmoil prove imminent, Erin and Duncan Melville must make life-and-death decisions to keep everyone on the plantation safe.

The author did extensive research to deliver rich detail, immersing readers in the historical context and atmosphere. We even meet an actual historical figure, such as David Lloyd, the attorney whose legal and political contributions played a significant role in developing institutions and shaping early Pennsylvania's political landscape. Belfrage's skill in depicting the intricate emotions of the characters enhances the depth of the narrative, resulting in a captivating and absorbing reading experience. I loved the affection between Erin and Duncan. I mostly liked their quick-witted natures and couldn't stop laughing whenever they were unwilling to let each other get the last word. I recommend Times of Turmoil to The Time Locket series fans and anyone searching for a captivating story set against the backdrop of a carefully researched historical period.