A novel, published February 1994. Don’t you love this cover? I have at least 4 books with this same cover!
What was a woman to do?
When an experiment gone wrong landed Dr. Jane Florian in the Middle Ages, she vowed to make the best of things. And if that meant posing as Lady Jehane from the Holy Land, cleaning the castle from tower to dungeon, ousting the hounds from the banquet hall, and giving the mistress of the caste a makeover, then she would. Unfortunately, she hadn’t counted on her reaction to her new neighbour – the magnetic Sir Daffyd.
The Middle Ages might lack modern conveniences, but Jane had no complaints about the men. Sir Daffyd’s arrogant masculine sensuality fired her senses as no man from her own time had ever done. And yet, Jane’s secrets weren’t the only ones, for Sir Daffyd was a man of mystery himself.
Jane is working in an university lab studying energy signatures through time. Suddenly something happens, and she gets a glimpse of the future. Her young boss David Wolf is not happy with that, and before Jane knows it, he stuffs her in his timemachine, and sends her to the past, where she can do no harm. Unfortunately, the timemachine is not yet fully functioning, and she does not end up near a convent in France as was his intention, but somewhere in England. As Jane is an historian, and loves re-enactments and such, she is not lost. After all, David did sent her clothes appropriate for the timeperiod, and lots of trade goods that were worth a lot of money, like spices and jewellery and silk. So Jane makes up a story of having travelled from the Holy Land once she was widowed, to England to find a relative of her late husband. Unfortunately, all her servants have succumbed to a fever, and she is the last one standing. Her horse has run of, leaving her stranded in this fallen down tower.
Lucky for Jane, who changes her name to Jehane, he believes her, and he taker her home with him, as he is in need of a chatelaine. And Jane sure has her work cut out for her! His keep is a pigsty! And while Stephan goes of to secure his bride from his evil neighbour Hugh of Lilydrake, Jane goes to work. Getting the keep cleaned, the buildings repaired, and everything else that is needed. And when a very gloomy Lord Stephan comes home with his bride, and leaves almost at once to visit his liege lord, it is up to Jane to make Sibelle more attractive. The young woman was intended for a life in the convent, and now she has to be a bride. Which she doesn’t regret at all, as Lord Stephen is sure goodlooking, and she is already halfway in love with him. And so Jane puts Sibelle on a diet, and gives her plenty of exercise, making the young girl loose weight fast. And she puts her in a bath, so she finally discovers her one great feature: her long golden hair, which is shiny once it is finally clean. The nuns were not so big on bathing, but Jane sure is, and Sibelle grows to like it as well.
All would be well in Jane’s life, if it wasn’t for lord Daffydd, who keeps turning up in the most unfortunate events. He is some sort of landless knight, hunting for villains and marauders in the kings’ woods. He is good friends with Sir Stephan, and always welcome. But he sure rubs Jane wrong, and she just cannot hold her tongue as she is supposed to do around men. After all, a woman was only a possession back then.
And then King John (from Robin Hood!) is visiting. Jane really does not want to meet him, she knows too much about him, and she is just the type of woman he likes to “take his pleasure” with. And the King is so paranoia, he sees plots everywhere, and he kills whenever he likes it, guilty or innocent alike. So she does not want to meet him! What if she somehow changes history? Can Daffydd safe Jane from the King?
I sure did notice the age of this book, it was a bit dated. And it was also her very first book, according to my book bible, fantasticfiction.co.uk. It is a mix between historical romance and science fiction, due to the time travelling. Usually, this is done by magic, the fae, a curse, an object. But this time, by machine. And the machine really does work both ways after all.
I did like Jane, she made the best of the situation. She did not want to marry, but start her own convent, which was tricky in that time, as convents and priests were banned. Praying was not Jane’s thing, but she could do some good work every day. And of course, as Abbess/Prioress she can make her own rules. But fickle faith has other plans for her.
She dreadfully misses her coffee and chocolate, and proper sanitair. She would love a shower instead of taking a sponge bathe with cold water in the morning. Thanks to her hobby/study, she speaks the local language, which is not English nor French.
I love Susan Sizemore’s Prime series, mainly about vampires, and as I am a glommer, I just want her whole backlist. So I have some more historical romances on the shelf, waiting to be read. It did take me a while to finish this book, I just could not get into the story at first. So every now and then in the bath tub I read a few pages, until the story finally grabbed it, and I took it downstairs with me to finish it.
There was a lot I did like in the story, but also things I did not like. Some things were too modern I though, and everything went so easy for Jane. I did like the ending a lot though, and won’t be spoiling that for you. Susan Sizemore has a nice writing style, but I still prefer her paranormals. Still, I will read the other books I have someday