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November 20, 2014

Disliked It: Veil of Time by Claire R. McDougall

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Literary Fiction | Time Travel
A compelling tale of two Scotlands-one modern, one ancient-and the woman who parts the veil between them.

The medication that treats Maggie’s seizures leaves her in a haze, but it can’t dull her grief at losing her daughter to the same condition. With her marriage dissolved and her son away at school, Maggie retreats to a cottage below the ruins of Dunadd, once the royal seat of Scotland. But is it fantasy or reality when she awakens in a bustling village within the massive walls of eighth-century Dunadd? In a time and place so strange yet somehow familiar, Maggie is drawn to the striking, somber Fergus, brother of the king and father of Illa, who bears a keen resemblance to Maggie’s late daughter. With each dreamlike journey to the past, Maggie grows closer to Fergus and embraces the possibility of staying in this Dunadd. But with present-day demands calling her back, can Maggie leave behind the Scottish prince who dubs her mo chridhe, my heart?



I've been in the mood for something different lately and VEIL OF TIME by Claire R. McDougall was screaming at me to finally give it a shot especially as it's been sitting on my shelf for the longest time. I'll be honest, my sole motivation for reading this is it's shameless comparison to Diana Gabaldon's hit series, Outlander, following its formula of time travel, Scotland, men in kilts, a conflicted woman. Unfortunately it did not live up to its promise IMO, though the premise is promising the actual plot was droll and at times even outrageous I had a hard time suspending disbelief.

I'll start with the time travel explanation which I could accept because VEIL OF TIME after all is a fantasy so anything goes in that regard. The short of it is Maggie was able to transport herself back to 8th century Dunadd because it's Samhain and her epileptic episodes was her mode of travel. However Maggie is slated for an operation soon which will cure her of the disease but in exchange for a clean bill of health, she won't be able to take casual trips back in 8th century. This conundrum was made even more difficult after Maggie fell in love with Fergus, the King of Dunadd's brother. Again I can deal with this, it can be a legit myth and conflict, I mean I've read and engaged in various impossible and sometimes ridiculous plots involving several otherworldly creatures and IMO this is no different.

In present day Maggie found a confidante in her neighbor, Jim, a geezer and local historian. First she started asking dear old Jim random but specific questions about Dunadd which Jim entertained. Eventually she confessed that she was able to travel back and forth in time during her epileptic episodes and here is where part of my problem lies. Jim just took it in stride and didn't really question this anomaly. No skepticism, no proof of validation, nothing of the sort, he just took it as fact and became Maggie's pseudo babysitter when she has her attacks. Ha! A very illogical response from an intellection don't you think?

VEIL OF TIME didn't work for me for a few reasons. First is it's lack of tension and ebbs and tides that could've made this one great adventure. There was no palpable romantic tension between Maggie and Fergus, they meet, got curious, felt attraction, hopped in a cot, screwed, fell in love, and never want to part. It was one straight line which is a shame because their impossible love story is the core of the novel.

Also Dunadd is in the cusp of a catastrophe the likes of their existence will be wiped out from history. The constant alternation between past and present prevented this part of the story to be developed. The height of this arc is Maggie warning Fergus and his tribe of the oncoming assault, basically trying to change the past in order to save them. Yeah that didn't work well either. On a side note, I don't know why Maggie would want to stay in Dunadd, I understand that McDougall is trying to give an authentic air to this time but it was so authentic that it became unappealing. Yucky stew with mystery meat, unwashed bodies, people speaking Gaelic, and so on and so forth. There's nothing remotely romantic about this era and it would be a no brainer for me choosing between my health and Fergus.

So yes, this little reading experiment was a bust and believe me I tried to at least like VEIL OF TIME which was why I finished it instead of calling DNF. Obviously I'm not the right reader for this literary fantasy, I guess I've been pre-conditioned by countless PNR/UF novels that stories like this should come with different highs, it was too tame for my crazy palate.








33 comments:

  1. Any book that's being compared to Gabaldon's series better be made of awesome because that's a pretty bold statement if you ask me. It's too bad that you were aiming for something different, and instead got utter crap. You win some and you lose some...

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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  2. Well boo, no one should ever compare a book to the Outlander series, that is just asking for bad reviews from the get go!

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    1. Right?! It's asking for a comparison and more often than not the more popular one wins

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  3. Well shoot. This sounded good by the description. The parts that you mentioned that I think wouldn't work for me was the romance and the over abundance of negative things being mentioned about the 'past'. I guess I'll pass on this one. :(

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    1. It just lacked a good anchor for me you know, the "past" was unappealing and the present was meh at best. What kind of options are those?

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  4. How would they even understand each other?

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    1. Apparently she learned Gaelic in the present but learning a new language takes a LOT of time!

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  5. The lack of page turning tension is sad

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    1. Amen sister, I so wanted to love this!

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  6. I think I got a request for this and it was all basically a comparison to Outlander - which I didn't really like so I passed. Sorry you didn't like it.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Me too, I wish this was better than what it was. So promising, I do love romantic time travel novels

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  7. Oh I so wanted to read this but was too booked around release for review. Sadly I don't think I would have enjoyed it either despite the premise. Why do they compare books to masterpieces it is almost always a mistake

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    1. They set the expectations so high from the get go so naturally if it falls short the disappointment is bigger.

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  8. Poor Braine! You wanted more angst and feeling, you wanted them to work for it, and it was just a gentle thing that slipped along tamely. I am curious though since it is medieval Scotland.

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    1. Do you want my copy? I can send it to you

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  9. Ugh. Hate that. A book like this should have a lot of action! Not this tepid thing. :/ I hope your next read will be better, hun.

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    1. Tepid is the perfect word, I don't like tepid unless it's drinking water

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  10. As I was reading the synopsis I thought, hmm...sounds a lot like Outlander! Maggie and Fergus don't sound like they have Claire and Jamie's chemistry, though. Sorry this one didn't work out for you, Braine!

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    1. Girl I didn't feel the chemistry, it's like Maggie sees Fergus as a desperate escape more than that exciting flare of love and lust.

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  11. Hope your next read is more to your liking!

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  12. Oh I'm sorry it didn't really work for you this time. I didn't know about this one but I think I'll pass. Hope your currently read is better.

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    1. The one after this sucked too but what I'm reading right now is great!

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  13. Yeah, I was think of Outlander as I read the blurb. If someone told me they could time travel and was adamant about it, I'd just go along with it. lol.It would be entertaining.

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    1. I think I would be too but only to a point. It got to a place where Maggie was really making sense and her friend was just taking it too well

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  14. Honestly, it looks tame too. Not my kind of thing. But I can see how the comparison to Outlander would have drawn you in.

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    1. I think it my experience might be different if Outlander was not mentioned at all.

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  15. I would have probably given this book a chance since I love Outlander so much, but not every book is going to be as awesome as that one. So sorry to hear you disliked this book.

    Grace

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    1. Thanks, I was so excited to start this, I psyched myself.

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  16. Ahh, I'm sorry you stepped out on a limb and it didn't work. I'd have to agree with your issues though - particularly because it seems as though the author *could* have done so much with the story! Good for you for trying something new, Braine. I hope your current/next read trips your trigger. :)

    Btw, did you like Reiss?

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    1. I haven't gotten your invite for the books :(

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  17. So sorry this book was not "likeable", hope you enjoy your next read.
    Have a great week Braine.

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