A few days ago, one of my far flung internet friends asked if I wanted to read something delightful. Natalie rarely recommends books, and each recommendation has ended up in my pantheon of favorites. I said yes, and here I am with a delightful book to recommend to you.
One of Natalie’s previous recommendations was Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of The Dog, which I also strongly recommend. A good chunk of the early part of Just One Damned Thing After Another reads like Jodi Taylor liked Willis’ book, but thought it needed more adventure. There are undeniable similarities in the premise that time-travelling facilitates historical research, but Taylor soon establishes her own world and her own characters. The protagonist, Madeline “Max” Maxwell, is a damned delight. She is smart and capable, but also likely to get into shenanigans. If I wrote fan fiction, I’d put Max and Mark Watney (The Martian) in constant peril and see how they smarted their way out. St. Mary’s, the historical research institute where Max lives and works, is different from your average academic institution.
We both paused to contemplate the massive rule-breaking going on here.
‘Would you like some tea?’
‘Oh. Yes, please.’
We’re St. Mary’s. If hitting someone doesn’t cure the problem, then drinking tea will.
Just One Damned Thing After Another is the first in the St. Mary’s Chronicles series. It suffers a bit from being a first book. It could use a good editor, there’s some confusion about names, and the story loses focus about 2/3 way in. Regardless, I had a hard time putting it down and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.