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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.