I have read novellas before (a few), and since it had been a while since my last historical fiction binge, I picked this one up.
It is a collection of four novellas, written by authors whose work I have not had the fortune to read earlier. This last part is something I will remedy when time permits. It was so engrossing that I actually read the entire book on my phone, something I hardly ever do. There is a running theme through the different ‘times’ of the four stories. It revolves around a cursed timepiece. In all but the last narrative, we meet characters who seem to have a running storyline already, and this is just one of them. Given the method of introducing their situations, I did not feel like I was missing something by not having followed their earlier adventures.
In the first story by Susanna Kearsley, we meet a strong silent man who is an assassin for the good side. He is travelling on an important mission, and due to bad weather, his progress seems to have halted. I say ‘seems’ because the bulk of the story is spread out over the days that he is landlocked and how fate seems to unfold around them. His awe and adoration of his wife were very vivid, and she steals the show by the end of the story. I really enjoyed the writing the most in this one as well as the imagery.
We move on to another time and place. This time a woman and her newlywed husband are approached for a strange assignment. The man who approaches them demanding their help has a history with the couple. Anna Lee Huber wrote a very spunky heroine who has an equally active husband, and they still manage to make it work. The story starts off with a strange premise but wraps up satisfactorily. The characters are more energetic and the emotions a little more complicated in this story.
The next jump is a few decades into the future, and an unlikely candidate picks up the watch from its resting place. We have a female undertaker who is helping a newly titled many reintern his family in a bigger plot. This unleashes multiple strange occurrences which come together quite well towards the end. This focuses more on the mystery angle than that of the watch, although it is a lurking presence in the background. This novella was written by Christine Trent.
Finally, we land in 1944, and the war is on. The watch moves more into the background in this story by C.S Harris, although it is a driving force in the development. This is once again a mystery with the lead couple being exciting characters. It is a case of investigation with the watch (hopefully) now at rest and the curse no longer a threat to the populace.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.