Tuesday, March 20, 2012

QUICK REVIEW: "Blue Bells of Scotland" (Blue Bells trilogy #1) - by Laura Vosika

Blue Bells Trilogy 
Book One
by Laura Vosika

REVIEWED BY: Books4Tomorrow


Shawn Kleiner has it all: money, fame, a skyrocketing career as an international musical phenomenon, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants-- until the night Amy has enough and leaves him stranded in a Scottish castle tower.
He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior. Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall's tempting, but knife-wielding fiancee. They are pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor who want Niall dead.

Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn. Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life-- pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts--- seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene. His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness.


I was hesitant to read this book as I don’t entertain the notion of time-travelling. But Laura Vosika made it so believable, I caught myself from time to time actually reconsidering such a concept.

On the very first page of this book, I was already bent over laughing so hard. The author brilliantly portrays the arrogance and selfishness of the main character in a delightfully humorous way. You know guys like him. He swaggers into a room, women’s knees buckle and men’s blood boils. The world seems to hold its breath for a minute just for him. That’s Shawn Kleine, one of the two main characters at the start of this book.

Shawn is the epitome of self-indulgence, self-importance and self-centeredness. To him, life is all about him. A master trombone player, he can turn a tin whistle into stardom!  On the flipside of the coin and almost 700 years in the past, there is Niall Campbell, a mirror image of Shawn in the looks department. A proud Scottish warrior on the verge of fighting a war to save Scotland, his betrothed, and the lives of everyone dear to him, he is the exact opposite of Shawn Kleine in that he is noble, humble and a man of faith. The only other similarity between these two men is their stubbornness. Oh, and of course the little issue of them switching places in time.

The lyrical wordplay in this book is amazing! I couldn’t help but savor every word; every sentence, every page, as it invoked vivid pictures in my mind of Scotland in the fourteenth century and present day. The atmosphere of each scene, whether in a present-day concert hall or fourteenth century wilderness or battlefield, is so well described that not only can you visualize the surroundings, you can feel it, you can hear it and you can smell it…..heck, you can almost touch it! The author’s love for, and sound knowledge of music and musical instruments is also evident as the story is filled with traditional and folk music to accompany and accentuate the different moods and emotions of the characters.

A good balance was maintained between the contrasts and similarities of Shawn and Niall. These were some of the most genuine and real characters, with elegantly written depth and dimension, I’ve come across in a long time. Shawn’s naïve arrogance in stark contrast to Niall’s unassuming nature added a lighthearted ambience to this book, yet at the same time seriousness was lent to the story with a subtle religious undertone. Niall’s struggles with his unwavering faith when he questions why he was placed in a situation over which he has no control, and Shawn’s character’s growth as understanding of his past dawns on him through life-threatening events and while fighting his own personal demons, is a personal journey which compels the reader to do some soul-searching of one’s own.

The unusual plot told from Shawn and Niall’s different points of view, and an open ending which would leave you eager to get the next book in this trilogy makes “Blue Bells of Scotland” unadulterated magical indulgence. I guess I have to stop gushing about this magnificent book at some point, so I’ll just give it to you straight - this really is a one-of-a-kind book deserving of much more than merely 5 stars!



“Blue Bells of Scotland” by Laura Vosika has 44 reviews on GoodReads. Read it here - http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6810566-blue-bells-of-scotland



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