Reviews by Maria.
I would like to thank author Pamela DuMond for giving me the opportunity to read the first two books in her Mortal Beloved series, The Messenger and The Assassin, in exchange for fair and honest reviews of both novels.
My review for The Messenger:
16-year-old Madeline Blackford is just trying to make her way through her crazy prep school with power tripping teachers, mean girls, and the guy that’s about to break up with her. Her mother left her when she was very young, and Madeline can’t remember much about the car accident they had before she left. But, she lives a basically happy life with her friends and her family. She never expected she was any different than other girls; and certainly never expected to have a super power; nevermind that her power would be to travel through time. More specifically that while she was falling to her death, she’d travel to Rhode Island, to the year 1675.
Madeline started off as a fairly regular female adolescent main character. There wasn’t anything about her personality or story that made her that interesting or different. Aside from her mother’s disappearance nothing made her stand out as a leading character. But when she traveled back in time to 1675, she went through huge character growth which made her much more interesting and likable. I thought her reaction to landing in the past was realistic as she went through many stages: confusion, acceptance, and acclimation. She proved to be tough and smart as she learned many ways of life in the past like chores such as weaving, taking care of livestock, and churning butter. While Madeline was in the past, she was able to convince the people around her that she’s their Abigail. She’s able to take over Abigail’s body after her settlement had been attacked and she was left for dead.
Samuel was an interesting love interest. He is a healer and will reincarnate in that role over and over during his lifetimes. He has a healing and powerful touch, but because of his native blood, he finds much distrust while living in a settlement full of white people. Some people fear he has magic and suspect his ways. The threat of witchcraft in that time was very real with the puritans suspecting everyone around them. He must walk this line and be smart enough not to cross it while living there. Samuel is useful, he’s allowed to stay. He is a simple man and proves his love to Madeline through simple deeds. Their romance is sweet and endearing. It also is tested through death, loyalty, accusations, and courage.
This book was a little slow in the beginning while Madeline was in the present but it picked up and got very interesting once she landed in the past. I really liked DuMond’s attention for historical fictionous details. While the people were probably fictitious, much of the story and past elements were probably real. I know that life for the early settlers was very hard, relationships with the native americans were tenuous, and religious zealotism was a way of life.
Adults and young adults would enjoy this book, especially if they enjoy historical literacy.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
My review for The Assassin:
The Assassin picks up right where The Messenger left off with Madeline seeing Samuel back in her present time. Now that her two best friends know about her power to time-travel, they aid in her search for finding Samuel in this time. Madeline also gets a new trainer/mentor in fellow Messenger Ryan. She quickly travels back in time again, this time to medieval Portugal, the year 1355. She must deliver her message to Prince Pedro’s beloved Inez and travel back to her time. The only problem is when she strikes up an alliance with the Samuel of 1355 and feels herself falling for him all over again.
I definitely liked Madeline more in this book. After all her character growth in the last book this one was more about her coming into her powers and becoming a heroine. She trains and banters with Ryan which shows her feistier side in the beginning of this book. But when she travels into the past again she really shows strength. She enters the body of a lowly gypsy peasant, one who someone just tried to poison. She seemed more centered and aware of her purpose and power in this book. Madeline knows more about time-traveling now and tries to acclimate to the time quickly. She shows brains and compassion when she cares for Inez’s children while Inez is being brutally murdered; after she discovers she’s too late to warn her. Madeline quickly builds friendships and alliances with others around her. She’s also better at crafting lies to cover up for her story. And slowly she lets herself fall in love again.
This book really didn’t introduce present day Samuel aside from presenting him as somewhat aloof. So I’ll delve more into 1355 Samuel instead. So Samuel is a healer and reincarnates but doesn’t remember his past lives. So he will never recognize Madeline in any lifetime, unless she meets him in enough past lives for him to start to remember her in the present. Unfortunately he doesn’t remember her in this past. He’s a stuffy, privileged lord living amongst the royals. He hasn’t discovered his healer powers or his purpose yet. While he forms an alliance with Madeline while they help Inez, he still thinks little of her. So this past Samuel was kind of a big jerk and it took a long time for me (and Madeline) to like him. But eventually his character did reveal his inner layers and that he thinks of more than just royalty and politics. He shows strength and kindness when in his station, when he didn’t have to. He also genuinely cares about the servants and people around him. Samuel has the moral dilemma of loyalty to his kingdom or to his heritage. He’s a very enigmatic character in this lifetime. Watching his walls start to come down as he falls for Madeline was very exciting to see, making this Samuel my favorite so far.
I did want to mention Ryan because even though he was introduced in this book and wasn’t around very long before Madeline time jumped; I believe he’ll probably be back in the series. It was very nice to see Madeline have a strong, knowledgeable mentor. Also one who wouldn’t take any of her crap -i.e. her feistiness- without putting her in her place. For awhile there I was really concerned Ryan was going to be another love interest, and while it was brought up, it was never really explored. Which made this relationship refreshingly mostly platonic; because Madeline’s got enough problems in that department.
This 2nd edition to this series went fast and like the first, had great historical scenes. I’m not sure how historically accurate it was, being I know nothing about Portugal in 1355, but I’m sure the essence of the story was true. Life in medieval times was rough for everyone not just the servants but for the rich as well. Crowns changed hands, assassinations happened, and the threat of murder, illness, or death was around every corner. I believe the author did a great job portraying how life was back then. I just wished she would have gone into a little more detail about how Madeline learned the skills as a servant back then.
This book would be a great read of Young Adult and Adult historical fiction readers alike.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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(Mortal Beloved, #2)
Publication date: July 5th 2015
Genres: Time-Travel, Young Adult
“All the excitement of Outlander if it was a YA series.”
The Messenger has been optioned for Film/TV.
The Assassin will be featured in Glamour UK Magazine September 2015 edition.
Time Traveler. Messenger. Beloved. Spy.
“I was a Messenger: I kept the memory of all our encounters, our lives, like a locket that brushes the skin and bones covering my heart. But Samuel was a Healer: he didn’t time travel. His kind lived, died, re-incarnated, and he didn’t retain memories from his past lives. Every year I landed in required starting our relationship over: from ashes, from scrap… Every place I journeyed had beauty as well as darkness; all my time-travels were bittersweet.” ~ Madeline.
Madeline’s a Messenger: time traveling across lifetimes and delivering messages that could change one life or many. When she discovers that her true love, Samuel, is alive in present day, but doesn’t remember her from their past, she journeys to a deadly royal conflict in medieval Portugal hoping to rekindle his memory. Mortal assassins as well as dark-souled time travelers seek to kill her. Will Madeline and Samuel be together again in life—or only in death?
THE SEEKER (Mortal Beloved, Book Three) publishes Winter 2015/2016.
Pamela DuMond is the author who discovered Erin Brockovich’s life story, thought it would make a great movie and pitched it to ‘Hollywood’.
She writes romantic comedic mysteries, romantic YA time travel and New Adult romance.
Her book The Story of You and Me was a Quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakout Novel Award (ABNA) 2014 in Romance.
Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys was a Quarterfinalist in ABNA 2013 in Mystery .
She’s addicted to TV shows — The Voice and Reign. The movies Love Actually and The Bourne trilogy (with Matt Damon — not that other actor guy,) make her cry ever time she watches them. (Like — a thousand.)
When she’s not writing Pamela’s also a chiropractor and cat wrangler. She loves reading, the beach, working out, movies, TV, animals, her family and friends. She lives in Venice, California with her fur-babies.
She likes her coffee strong, her cabernet hearty, her chocolate dark, her foods non-GMO and she lives for a good giggle.