FALLAM’S SECRET by Denise Giardina


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Giardina (Saints and Villains, 1998, etc.) time-travels to Puritan England.

Lydde Falcone, alone of her large family, lived through the fire that burned down her father’s house when she was two. Raised by her Aunt Lavinia and Uncle John, Lydde had a happy childhood in West Virginia, then moved to England and became a London stage actress. When Uncle John died, Lydde returned for his funeral and stayed on to comfort Lavinia. It was then that Lavinia gave her some papers John had left: maps, it turned out, of caves in the region that John (a physicist) believed stood over a fault line in the time/space continuum. Lydde investigates—and finds herself transported to Norchester, England, in 1657. Weird enough, but she also discovers Uncle John there, alive and well. It’s not the best place for a family reunion, however, for England is in turmoil after the civil war that overthrew the monarchy and established Oliver Cromwell as supreme Dictator of the realm. Cromwell and his Puritan lieutenants have banned music, art, dancing, and even Christmas in their Taliban-like efforts to advance the purest form of religion they can concoct, and the local commander of the Puritans, Noah Fallam, turns out to be Lydde’s direct ancestor. Although there is little direct resistance, most people in the region resent the restrictions and admire the dashing bandit named Raven who preys on wealthy Puritan travelers and distributes their money to the poor. When Raven accosts Lydde, however, he is the one who is robbed—of his heart. Madly in love, he reveals his true identity to Lydde, thereby making her an accessory to his crimes. They’re secretly wed, but how long can you stay married to a man with a price on his head? If only there were some way to get back to West Virginia . . . .

A pleasant diversion a feel for the period and some neat surprises, though things drag toward the end and dawdle to the finish line.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-393-05206-0
Page count: 356pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2003


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