Friday, April 5, 2013

Like Chaff in the Wind by Anna Belfrage

Title: Like Chaff in the Wind
Author: Anna Belfrage

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Time Slip / 17th Century / 21st Century / Scotland / Colonial US / Nautical / Family Intrigue)
Publisher/Publication Date: Matador (3/1/2013)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Rating: Okay.
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: Twentieth-century born and 17th-century living heroine must sail to the American Colonies when her husband in kidnapped and forced into indentured servitude.
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I adore it -- very striking and pretty!

First line: Matthew Graham congratulated himself yet again on not having brought his wife Alex or wee Mark along to Edinburgh.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: If you've read the previous novel, get this one -- the ebook is under $4.

Why did I get this book?: Intrigued by the 17th century setting!

Review: This book continues the story of time traveling Alex and her 17th century husband Matthew started in A Rip in the Veil. Sadly, while others found this one to be the stronger novel, I have to admit I far preferred A Rip in the Veil!

Set in the 17th century, the story picks up sometime later (months?) after the first book ends. As with the previous novel, the action starts immediately: Matthew is sold into slavery by his villainous brother, shipped over to the Colonies, where he's abused and used. His wife Alex, modern lady that she is, doesn't accept this, and sets off after him. (This is the first ten pages.) From there, Belfrage continues the action -- rescue, attacks, betrayals, more time travel, soap opera-ish twists, and modern sentiments clashing with historical ones.

I can't quite nail down what felt so different in this book than the previous one other than I just was less taken with Alex and Matthew, our romantic leads. Even though I would normally admire a woman like Alex -- tough, pragmatic, capable of being more than just a mother -- I was actually quite put off by the callousness she displayed toward her children. After easily abandoning her first child (and subsequently rejecting him), she left her second one to embark on a trip that could have killed her. (When she's pregnant again, there's a scene where she thinks about how reassuring it is being pregnant, and honestly, all I could think was, when are you leaving this kid behind?)

I also found the sexytimes between Alex and her husband a bit much -- both in frequency -- and at times, the level of violence. Matthew is understandably damaged from his time in near slavery in the Colonies, but regardless of the psychic wounds, I'm never ever going to get behind rape, even when the author tells me the heroine is okay with it.

Still, there's something to be said for an otherwise fluffy-ish novel having some complicated grounding, dark emotions, and a heroine who isn't insta-happy-homemaker. The villains are particularly evil but family ties run deep, and Alex (and we the readers) have to accept brushing elbows with some unsavory people. Her family's ability to evoke 'time nodes' through art is again addressed in this book, a gift and a curse that affects more than just Alex.

For a sense of the novel, the author has the first three chapters available online, and unlike the first book, this one ends on a cliff hanger -- so be prepared to yearn for the third book in the series!

*** *** ***


I'm thrilled to offer a copy of Like Chaff in the Wind to one lucky reader!

To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US and international readers. Ends 4/19.


  1. Great review, Audra! I agree with many of your comments, although I'm one who feels that this one is the stronger of the two novels (A Rip in the Veil moved a little too slowly for me). Alex's attitude towards her children really bothered me, too, but I otherwise thought she was a great character. I also agree about Alex and Matthew's 'sexy times' being too frequent -- I ended up skipping the bedroom scenes because of this.

    1. I agree -- in terms of pacing (and even characterization), Belfrage really stepped it up with this one. And for a rather huge plot, she keeps it together tightly -- which I liked. I'm looking forward to the next book -- I just find everything about Alex's mother fascinating!

  2. Thanks for the review. I can't wait to read both A Rip In The Veil and Chaff In The Wind. Love the fact it's set in the 17th Century and it's got Time Travel in it. Thank you so very much for this wonderful opportunity to win.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    1. Carol -- you're going to love this series then!!

  3. Good point about Alex and her children (seems a theme somewhat with her). I liked that she thought of Matthew (more so than Issac, but still, it was progression on her part) but yes, she did leave him a while and she didn't seem quite as worried about it as one might have expected. I think for me, the preference for this book was because there was more plot, more episodes so to speak. Really hoping Mercedes gets a proper look in next book.

    1. I don't mind a heroine on a mission, but if she was going to ignore her children, why write them in? Still, it wasn't a deal breaker for me and I'm soooooo eager to see a lot of Mercesdes in the next book!

  4. I think my issue was not having read Book 1 first - I felt like I didn't know what was happening but also didn't like that we jumped right into the action. Off to read your review of A Rip in the Veil.