Kerstin Gier, Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green (trans. Anthea Bell)
Gwyneth Shepherd belongs to an unusual family: every generation, one of its members has the ability to travel through time. Gwyneth has always assumed that her cousin Charlotte has this gift, and Charlotte has spent her entire life preparing for it. But to everyone’s shock, it is Gwyneth who unexpectedly travels through time, revealing herself as the true possessor of the gift. Unfortunately, Gwyneth doesn’t have Charlotte’s extensive training in history and etiquette to help her navigate the past. Moreover, it seems that her family, as well as a secret cabal of fellow time-travelers, is keeping a lot of crucial information from her. For example, what is the meaning of the mysterious prophecy involving “the ruby”? Who is the Count Saint-Germain, and what is his plan for Gwyneth? And most importantly, can Gwyneth trust her partner in time travel, Gideon de Villiers, whose unpredictable behavior both frustrates and attracts her?
First off, I’m very glad that I read all these books at once, because there’s definitely no resolution to the story at the end of Ruby Red or Sapphire Blue. I did enjoy the series overall, but in looking back, I find myself focusing more on its flaws. The plot feels very cluttered to me: Gwyneth and Gideon are constantly jumping back and forth through time to uncover various secrets, yet at the same time, nothing much really happens until about halfway through the second book. The series sets up lots of mysteries, but most of them are fairly easy to solve. It all just felt a little overwrought to me. Also, I was not a fan of the romance; I don’t think Gwyneth should have put up with Gideon’s mixed signals and condescending behavior! I do have to say, I was impressed with how the time travel itself was handled; the timeline of the series makes sense, and I didn’t catch any glaring logical inconsistencies. If you like the genre and don’t mind YA, this series is worth a read, but I’m glad I got the books from the library instead of buying them.