Book Review The Talisman Crisscross Volume One by Shaunna Gonzales

This book reminds me of the novels of Diana Gabaldon, which defy genre. Suspense, adventure, romance, time travel, old-time western living all rolled into one fabulous story. This book combines all of the above, and I loved it. I always read the reviews of a book before I read it, and I would like to address some of the issues raised by other reviewers, in case you too, have read the other reviews. I did not experience any ‘slowing down” of the plot in the middle of this book. I found both Trish and Quinn to be believable and well-developed characters. I thought the author did an excellent job of developing sexual tension between the characters. The book certainly does end on a cliff-hanger so to speak, and this is to be expected because this is Volume One, i.e., there is a sequel to follow. I had no trouble following the story, and Trish’s acceptance of her situation makes sense because she had prior knowledge of time travel with the Talisman, thanks to her grandmother’s experiences.
(ALERT – The remainder of the review does contain spoilers.)

At the beginning of the book, Trish is sitting on her beautiful Arabian stallion. I was immediately hooked, as I own horses myself and love Arabians. She has been unsuccessful at passing her bar exam, and I liked her even more because she wasn’t some “perfect” heroine with the world at her feet. She is feeling restless and uncertain of her future.
Without giving too much away, she finds herself transported back in time with her Arabian stallion. I liked the idea the horse traveled back in time with her. Not surprisingly, she finds herself in a man’s world in a rugged, undeveloped old West, and is quickly overpowered by an older man who intends to rape her.
Enter Quinn. A true old west cowboy, he is also a gentleman and is not going to stand by and watch a young woman being abused. He is understandably confused by Trish’s story, and her unwillingness to be honest with him about her background. I can only imagine what I would say if I found myself transported back in time into such a situation. I think I would be like Trish, trying to stay as close to the truth as possible without disclosing the entire story, which might have seen her locked away or executed as a witch in some towns.
When the older man who is threatening her tries to harm her, she fights back, and between Quinn and Trish, they kill the man in self-defense. No sorrow felt for this very unpleasant character.
Trish is therefore drawn into Quinn’s world and meets his friends and family members, including the woman he hoped to make his wife, who happens to be a prostitute.
To help cover her unexplainable presence in this time, Trish lives in this environment and allows others to believe she could be a prostitute, although she manages to maintain her virtue. I found it entirely believable that Trish would be seen in this light, giving her odd behavior and unwillingness to divulge her true identity.
Some time is spent developing the background and scenes at this point in the novel, but the interactions between Quinn and Trish and the growing attraction between them keeps everything interesting. I loved the realistic attention to detail when it came to taking a bath – such a simple thing in our time, and the necessity of hauling water.
When Trish stumbles across the scene of Quinn’s brother’s assault, she rushes in to try and help the man only to have him die in her arms. Covered in blood, she panics when she hears someone approaching, and flees.
Feeling overwhelmed by this terrible situation and frightened by her continued attraction to Quinn, she decides to return to her own time, before it is too late.
Confiding in her mother (Which I liked a lot as the author did a fabulous job of the interaction between these two, especially with the knowledge that Trish’s grandmother had been a time-traveler) Trish is horrified to learn that after she left the past, Quinn was executed for the murder of his brother – a crime he didn’t commit. With her mother’s encouragement, she risks everything, to go back in time and try to save him, using her knowledge of the law.
In a perfect blend of circumstances, Trish uses her legal skills to free Quinn but brings the suspicion squarely down on her head, and she charged with the murder.
By the time the dust settles, Trish is free and so is Quinn, thanks to Trish’s legal handiwork, which will no doubt give her confidence in her future attempts to pass the bar. During these trials, she also has the opportunity to interact with her grandmother, who it appears was the one responsible for drawing Trish to this point in time to help save an innocent man.
Trish admits the truth to Quinn, and convinced she has no choice but to return to her own time, she does so, leaving Quinn astounded and alone.
The book ends on a cliff hanger when a man calls her to ask about her Arabian stallion’s stud services, a man by the name of Jackson. Is it a descendant of her unrequited love? Or?

What I didn’t like about this novel: To my surprise, especially after reading initial reviews, I cannot find anything I didn’t like about this novel. It surpassed my expectations. I believe the author has a very bright future ahead of her with her writing skills, and her ability to paint a beautiful world complete with very realistic and believable characters who captured my interest and my heart.
I have no hesitation in giving it five stars out of five. It deserves even more. I will be eagerly awaiting the sequel to this excellent novel. (I was given a complimentary copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.)Edit

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