Book Reviews

Book Review: The Visitor

The Visitor

By Sara Sartagne

Published in 2021

310 pages

2019 – Stacie is trying to live her own life as a teaching assistant in a family of academics without feeling like she’s not living up to their expectations. They also don’t understand her ability to see spirits so Stacie keeps that gift to herself.  When they invite an American academic to lodge with them over the summer, the ghosts disappear.  Is it because of Nate?  If so, why?

1619 – Sarah is a 17-year-old cunning woman, skilled in the use of healing herbs.  Unfortunately, she’s also a single woman living in a time when cunning women are subject to being labeled witches.  When a new parson moves to their village, he singles Sarah out for his attention despite her attempts to dissuade him.  His daughter takes a dislike to Sarah and accuses her of witchcraft.  Will Sarah accept the parson’s protection or suffer the fate of other women found to be witches?

Obviously, this was a time-slip or dual timeline novel.  Since I’m working on my own time-slip novel, I read as many as I can.  And it’s hard to go wrong with a good paranormal/witchy story.  So when I saw this pop up as an ARC copy on BookSirens, I jumped on it.  

There’s a lot to love in this book.  Both timelines were as riveting as the other, something I’ve noted can be lacking in time-slip books.  Stacie’s family is complex and I was impressed at how she deftly navigated them.  The direct connection between Stacy and Sarah, Nate and John Dillington, the parson, was well done and I appreciated how the author tied them together naturally.  There was plenty of tension in both stories and a good romantic secondary storyline for Stacie and, as I’ve mentioned, there are witches. You can rarely go wrong with witches.  

The final tie-in of cause/effect between the two timelines is where I stumbled.  The main crux of the novel rested on danger to Stacie on the day Sarah died.  So one would think that Nate posed a threat to Stacie.  The only “threat” I could work out was that Nate was interested in Stacie, threatening her own blossoming romantic relationship with another man, and his interest strained relations with Stacie’s sister, who was making an obvious play for Nate.  But the final trial by fire in the current timeline had nothing to do directly with Nate (although in hindsight, I see the indirect connection of jealousy in both storylines) and once it was over, Sarah and John apparently could live happily ever after in the afterlife while Nate just disappeared from the novel.  Since I had to spend a bit of time trying to piece it together and just now got it, the ending fell somewhat flat for me while I was reading it.

The stories were enjoyable and held their own, but the book seemed to rest on a connection that wasn’t as obvious as it should have been.  Or maybe it’s just me and I didn’t pick up on subtle clues.  That’s certainly a possibility.

I gave this novel three stars.

My rating system:

5 stars – Wow, I could not stop thinking about this book and/or I wish I’d writtn it.

4 stars – This was an awesome novel, I’d recommend it to friends.

3 stars – This was a good novel, I will look for more by this author.

2 stars – An okay novel, but I probably won’t look for anything else by the author.

It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

1 thought on “Book Review: The Visitor”

  1. I very much agree that it’s rare seeing both timelines being equally compelling in a dual timeline novel. Without exception, I’ve found the historic timeline the most interesting in the novels I’ve read with that structure.

    Liked by 1 person

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