The idea was to go back in time, steal treasures, and find missing relatives. This became complicated by war, and then love. In Estuary, Lisa T. Bergen diverts modern streams to the river of fourteenth-century Italy. Time travel is a simple and unexplained device to motivate historical romance rather than sci-fi. Violence and political schemes drive the story and reflect disunity and conflicts alongside constant romance between main characters. As heroes travel between different countries and centuries, the story raises the theme of home and attendant ideas of family and belonging. Religion forms another current as characters ponder suffering, mercy, and God’s will. Although its portrait of medieval Italy is not wholly convincing, Estuary will sweep away many readers with its romance and excitement.
Best for: Women, fans of romance and historical fiction.
Discern: Violence that includes battle scenes and occasional graphic details, several men leer at women, characters on the good side act deceptively, one authority figure encourages romance between a man and woman while knowing one of them is courting another person, someone suggests God’s will for whom you marry can be discerned by feeling a “spark.”