Brave knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, hand-to-hand combat, a medieval castle attacked… but sorry, no hair conditioner or anesthesia. This is the experience of Gabrielle, a 21st-century girl who finds herself transported back in time to medieval times. Gabi’s extensive knowledge of fencing, modern medicine, and horseback riding keep her the talk of the town when she arrives back in the past, and though she catches the eye of the handsome (or, as she would say, “HOT”) heir of the castle, she is determined not to let anything distract her from finding her sister, whom she believes came back in time with her.
As a preteen or teen, I think I would have liked this book a lot more. Gabi’s first person perspective had a bit of 21st-century sarcasm and tenacity that the reader can relate to and appreciate, even if it does seem horribly out of place in a medieval castle. Gabi plays the part of an independent, determined, kick-butt female lead who isn’t afraid to do what may not seem “ladylike” at the time, even if it’s riding bareback or fighting with a sword. The “girl power” could definitely be appealing to some, but I felt it ended up being just a little bit too silly and unrealistic for my tastes.
A couple things that made me roll my eyes: The fact that a 21st-century girl could take some fencing classes and then go and kill a couple guys with a broadsword in actual battle. Or that a girl could place first in state in archery, and yet also go on to kill trained soldiers in actual battle, or beat professional archers in an archery tournament. C’mon, really? I’d understand if they were good with their weapons, but having them surpass everyone else’s skills just makes everyone else look ridiculous. The medieval-ese language mixing with Gabi’s very modern inner dialogue seemed choppy at times, and there were some “medieval” words that were ridiculously overused (“Mayhaps” was probably the biggest offender). I wasn’t convinced by the romance aspect — in fact, I found myself rooting for a different love interest entirely, and felt more “attached” to him than to the sullen, standoffish lead male. I also felt that it ended rather abruptly. (view spoiler)
Overall, it was kind of a fun, very fluffly read — nothing to take too seriously, for sure, and nothing which is going to give you any inside knowledge on what life was really like in the time period, but enough action to hold the reader’s interest. It’d probably great for a younger (or young at heart!) reader looking for a bit of adventure and romance.