The Garden of Promises and Lies

Paula Brackston. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-07245-0

Brackston’s enjoyable latest entry in her Found Things series (after The Secrets of the Chocolate House) finds time-traveling Xanthe Westlake on another reluctant adventure to the past. Xanthe, recovering from her breakup with Samuel—her 17th-century flame from the previous installment—is wracked by the guilt of knowing her return to the present allowed Samuel’s former boss, maniacal aristocrat Benedict Fairfax, to follow her there. Xanthe, who is a Spinner with the ability to travel through time using historical objects, wants nothing to do with her ability, but when a wedding dress from the 19th century calls out to her, she is launched back to 1815 Bradford-on-Avon, England. Xanthe, who has visions of the bride who originally owned the dress, is compelled to help her before she is convinced by her family to marry Fairfax. As Fairfax’s threats escalate, leaving Xanthe’s mother in danger in the present day, Xanthe realizes she must break her connection to her Spinning abilities if she wants to free herself. Brackston wastes no time getting into the story, so readers unfamiliar with the series will likely feel lost. But those who enjoy Brackston’s unique blend of historical detail, village charm, and twisty plotting will be delighted by this rip-roaring installment. (Nov.)
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