by Virginia Farmer

April 2004
ISBN: 0-505-52572-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Lovespell
Mass Market Paperback

Brian Skelley has enjoyed his tour with the British Explosive Ordnance School in Scotland, but is looking forward to getting back to the United States to receive his commission as a Navy Chief Warrant Officer. He has made a good life for himself despite his childhood with an abusive, alcoholic father. When another member of the school removes an unplanned ordnance in the field with Gaelic writing, there is a flash and Brian last memory is hitting the dirt face down.

When Brian wakes up he sees a woman who he takes to be a nun, because of her white headdress and rustic clothing. She has cleaned him up and tended his wounds. After seeing others dressed in clothes that look like they are out of the movie "Braveheart" and then noticing the primitive condition of the village, Brian realizes that he may be "daft' as Callum and Malcolm, the two men who found him injured in the field, claim. Eventually he believes that he is in the year 1301 and that William Wallace, the hero of "Braveheart" is very much alive and hiding from the English.

Caira, who is called a healer, has treated Brian's blast wounds, but can't help him try to return to 2004. He does admire her great courage and strength. She has helped lead the MacKenzie clan after the death of her father and her husband. The only men left at the small castle are the very young or very old, as war has claimed the others. Caira fears the English will try to take the MacKenzie land if they find she has no male laird in charge.

Brian is told by the clan that his last name means storyteller in Gaelic and is fully accepted after he tells them the tale of "Dragonheart" as he remembers it from his collection of DVD's. The secondary characters, Callum and Malcolm provide excellent comic relief in this story that is an excellent blend of adventure and romance. Brian is torn between his desire to return to his own time and claim the career he has worked hard to achieve and his growing love for Caira.

Caira is a heroine that can help women feel empowered, even though she is from the distant past. She shows that a woman can be a leader and still be tender and passionate. The love scenes are perfectly done.

My only question would be, could the people of 1301 really understand the language of an American of 2004? This does not really seem to be an issue in time travel books, where one must suspend disbelief and enjoy the fantasy. There is nothing so romantic as a Scottish setting or the gentle brogue, so it is no wonder it is a favorite with many romance readers.

A Blast To The Past is a fun read sure to brighten any day and make you want to attend the next Renaissance Festival nearby.

Reviewed in March 2004 by Roberta.

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