My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If one was to look up sixteenth century girls in an encyclopedia, (oh wait do they still have those? Maybe Google images then) you would most likely see someone like Alessandra. On the outside, she is like any other 16 year old from that era. She is willing and exited to be united in marriage to a man many years older than herself. Less is the picture of perfect bliss. She is proper and dutiful, but there is an adventurous side just waiting to get out. That side of her escapes when her dream of a perfect future is destroyed by the very man who inspired it. Alessandra needs an escape from her reality, and quick. If only her cousin, Cat, were here. She could help her make sense of all this. But alas, Cat had returned home to her own time in the future 2 years prior.
Enter Reyna. That quirky, always there at just the right time, riddle giving gypsy. Just as Alessandra felt as if she was as lost as could be, she is given an opportunity of a lifetime. Reyna sends her to stay with Cat, in the future, but is clear that she can only stay until the 3 riddles she has given her have come to pass.
Cat is absolutely shocked to see her sixteenth century cousin at her doorstep, in trousers none the less. For her, it has only been 2 months since she had arrived back from her own adventure, not two years as Less suggests. She immediately sets forth explaining dress, slang, and boys to Less. Now it is Cat's turn to help Less and she is going at it full throttle. She even gets Less enrolled as a foreign exchange student from Italy in her high school for the semester. Should be an educational experience. I mean, what can happen? Less is only here for a short time.
Surprises are just that, a surprise. Cat could not have imagined that in just one day, Less would be flabbergasted over a boy. Well, not just any boy, Austin! From the first time he tapped his fingers on the desk, Less was hooked, even though she didn't know it herself. What was happening to her? Austin was all wrong. He was trouble! He was also, all she could think about.
A Tale of Two Centuries is an imaginative, butterflies in your stomach, leaving you wanting more, read. I easily give it 5 stars and can't wait for my daughter to get just a bit older to read it herself. Rachel, you've done it again, girl! What talent! Congratulations!
WANT SOME FREEBIES?
Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.
One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.
With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?
~Special Flirt Squad Excerpt~
After several hours and rejecting more than, as Cat would say, a bazillion selections, we finally make our way home, bags brimming with a half dozen dresses and an array of ankle length skirts. And though our quest to find items that actually cover both my calves and elbows did prove time consuming, that was not really the reason for our extended excursion…it was my complete and utter awe over the vast display of readymade clothing! Modern women no longer have a need to select fabrics and patterns and hire a tailor—they merely step inside a store, choose an item off a rack, and bring it home. Marvelous.
I step inside Cat’s comfortably cool home and slurp the final remains of my creamy beverage. My cousin insisted she needed a ‘sugar fix’ on the way home, so Vivian stopped at a building with bright yellow arches filled with delectable delicacies. A chill seeps down my throat and I close my eyes at the blissful sensation, before recognizing the uncomfortable, full one tightening my stomach.
Wonderful, yet another experience in which to amuse my cousin. Since arriving, I seem to do little else. And though it is quite improper to discuss such topics, I have no other choice but to continue the entertainment now.
I turn to her, my cheeks burning with the ever-present annoying blush, and ask, “Pardon, but may I inquire where your garderobe is located?”
Cat grins in reply—as I expected—and I hang my head, following wordlessly in her wake back to the chamber she called a bathroom. She turns the knob on an interior door, steps inside, and lifts the lid on a bright white object.
“This, my time-traveling ancestor, is a toilet. Much cooler than your stinky garderobe business. See this?” She places her hand on a silver lever located near the top. “This means we have central plumbing.”
She lowers the lever and the toilet goes wild. A loud gurgling, much like the sound of a waterfall, erupts from the basin and I jump back and grip Cat’s arm with a muted squeal. The water pooled inside begins to bubble and fresh water cascades down from the rim above. The rumbling noise recedes to a gentler hiss but just when I think the excitement is over, the basin makes one last hurrah, twirling and whirling the water down the hole at the bottom with a final booming glug.
I slap my hand over my mouth then promptly remove it. “Do it again!”
Cat smiles and rolls her eyes, then pulls me into the tiny alcove. “Yeah, I don’t think so. You can do that when you’re done…using the facilities.”
The need to know where the contents go once they disappear is nearly overwhelming but I refrain from asking, having had quite enough of playing the simpleton cousin for at least one afternoon. But unfortunately, my role as entertaining time traveler plays on, as I do need to clarify matters a bit more. “So I sit on this toilet and, um, use it to…err…. relieve myself?”
My voice rising to a high-pitched squeak at the end does not help the situation.
Pushing my hair from behind my ear and ducking my head to hide my face, I clamp my eyes shut and will this moment over. Oh, why must every new discovery be such an embarrassing revelation?
My cousin, bless her, must take pity on me because I feel her brush past, pausing to give my arm a gentle squeeze. “Yep, nothing to it.” She pauses, and I hear her tap the frame of the door behind me. “So…I’m just gonna be in my room. Er,” she snaps her fingers together, “take your time.”
The door clicks closed and I shake my head. Suddenly, all of Cat’s humorous missteps from when she traveled to my time flash in my mind along with all my resulting merriment and I look to the heavens with a begrudging grin.
Yes, my present embarrassment is an apt form of divine justice.
When my head lowers, my gaze centers again on the silver lever and it is as if my insatiable curiosity is a living, breathing creature inside the alcove with me. I bounce on my toes, gnaw on my lip, and finally give in, shooting my hand out to depress the cool metal. The wondrous performance begins again, and my laughter echoes off the sage colored walls.
As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels. As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.
When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate. A Tale of Two Centuries is her second novel.
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