It has been a bit since I read this, so this review will be a bit lacking in details as I struggle to remember why I rated this three stars. I remember the middle particularly being a bit of a slog. Also, not much happened plot-wise for a 600ish page book. The author clearly just got really excited about putting her characters in a 16th century setting with a bunch of famous people from that era (and lots of non-famous people as well, to be fair).
There is actually quite a bit of character growth on the part of both Diana and Matthew, our main characters. They have ostensibly traveled back in time to find Diana a teacher in witchcraft, and also to find Ashmole-782 before it goes missing. Both of these goals are eventually accomplished, but there is a LOT of dithering across Europe in the meantime. Matthew confronts his feelings over the death of his father, who is still alive in this time, and Diana learns some things about herself as well, but honestly the specifics elude me. They spend a lot of time socializing and gathering strays to take care of. A lot of the historical detail was interesting, there was just so much here, it felt overly indulgent, and the book was harder to get through a a result.
I did end up liking it, though, and the ending was better than the beginning.
I still hate the time travel in this series though. Its rules make NO SENSE. I don’t even want to try and parse it because I’ll just get mad after writing 1,000 more words.