The Wishing Chalice
by Sandra Landry, historical/time-travel (2004)
Berkley, $5.99, ISBN 0-425-19458-2


Sandra Landry has a very compelling writing style that draws me into her story. The Wishing Chalice is a very familiar time-travel story - our heroine travels into the body of a woman that hated her husband, only now our heroine is attracted to him so it's merry confusion for everybody - right down to the minute details of the story, sometimes I wonder whether Ms Landry is a following some formula guidebook a little too closely in this story. However, I find myself reading nonetheless because I find the author's voice too interesting to put down, if I'm making any sense here.

Isabel Herbert is so blue. Her parents are dead, her marriage has disintegrated, and she miscarried her child. While wandering around the lovely cottage in the English countryside that every depressed heroine always seem to have one tucked away somehow, she finds an old chalice that sends her back in time to inhabit Lady Detra's body. Detra's husband, Hunter, is a self-made knight - his mother was widely-believed to be a witch, he was an illegitimate child, et cetera. Detra doesn't like Hunter's less-than-blue pedigree, but Isabel does. Poor Hunter wonders why the wife whom he loves dearly is now looking at him with desire instead of disdain while speaking funny in the midst of a bout of amnesia. Isabel's enjoyment of a modern-plumbing free existence is interrupted when Hunter learns of Secret and Deep Betrayal and she is caught right in the middle of the mess Detra created. Oh no.

Hunter is quite a charming hero, maybe too good to be true, but the biggest inconsistency in his character - his persistent loving of Detra despite she treating him like dirt - prevents him from becoming a full-fledged character, instead he's merely a well-written contrivance. Isabel is a better character - she starts off like one of those typical heroines besieged by troubles but she soon comes to her own. A plus is that Isabel isn't too stupid like many other idiot heroines out there.

The Wishing Chalice is not exactly a stand-out read, but at the same time, it is one that I find enjoyable.

By the way, is it just me or the cover model looks a little like Amber Benson who played Tara on Buffy?

Rating: 82


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