St. Mary’s is a project funded by a fictional university that sends historians back in time to observe significant events in contemporary time. The work is incredibly dangerous and all-consuming, but for history nerds it is an amazing opportunity. The lead character, Max, is an orphan (convenient!) incredibly tough (useful in the Cretaceous Period) and so emotionally dysfunctional that she’s probably a sociopath. Not that she’s portrayed that way. Instead she is the capable, but accident prone, slightly nerdy, slightly overweight romantic lead. There is also a traditional ruggedly handsome romantic interest as well as a few other potential leads lurking about in the supporting cast. There’s a romantic subplot, but primarily this is an adventure fantasy with both a strong female lead and a strong female baddie.
This book absolutely would pass the Bechdel Wallace test. The women are front and center, and range from bright eyed ingenues to classy older (much much older) dames who command respect. The male characters are well written as well. Mostly. The author switches between the first and last names and sometimes job titles of the characters and that was difficult to track.
She also wields the foreshadowing stick a little heavy. Every light-hearted or triumphant moment doesn’t have to end with some dumb phrase like “if only I had known then what was going to happen later..” Ugh I get it, the body count is going to get higher. And the author kills a lot of nerdy tech geeks and administrators. I was a little surprised by the violence (including a sexual assault that might be triggering for some.) But overall it’s a fun read with strong characters, an interesting premise and some great romantic tension with a really strange/funny post car-accident sex scene.
This is the first book in a series and was originally self-published by the author. She has gone on to write many more books in the series and I look forward to seeing her tighten up her writing as she gains experience.