The cover of Shenandoah Nights was the first thing that pulled me in. The sunset over blue water with the boats just caught my attention immediately. After reading the teaser, I realized it was also the exactly the type of book I was looking for with the added bonus of being the first in a series. The second story, Shenandoah Crossings, has now jumped to the next spot on my TBR list.
Synopsis from Amazon:
Could this all be a bad dream? How was she to know? Rebecca had far more questions than answers. Tisbury, Massachusetts, Martha's Vineyard The last thing sixth-grade teacher Rebecca O'Neill wants to do during the final week of her summer break is chaperone twenty-five kids on a six-night, seven-day trip aboard the schooner Shenandoah. But after a desperate phone call from the school principal, she doesn't have a choice. Worse, the ship is rumored to be 'haunted.' Five years ago, during the Holmes Hole student cruise, teacher Melissa Smith complained about hearing voices and seeing visions, then disappeared without a trace-from the very same cabin where Rebecca will be staying. Everything seems normal on Sunday as Rebecca boards the impressive Shenandoah. But as she sits in Cabin 8, she hears hushed voices that don't sound like they're from this century. Mike, a crewmember, insists he believes the crazy Island story that Melissa time-traveled to Colonial Boston. His eerie interest in constantly tracking Rebecca's whereabouts rattles her nerves. Her first night onboard, Rebecca drifts off to sleep...and wakes the following morning with memories of a secretive conversation about a battle with Britain. Monday night Rebecca crawls into her bunk after an adventurous day of sailing, swimming, and overseeing students. She's startled awake when a man grabs her and yells, 'Stowaway!' Dragged in front of Captain Benjamin Reed, she looks up into the most gorgeous brown eyes she's ever seen....
This book was a winner for several reasons. I've mentioned in previous reviews how much I enjoy historical time travel books, especially when they involve a romance. The added bonus for me with this particular story is the fact that the time travel setting is during the Revolutionary War period. I taught this period to my students for years and still find it to be fascinating. The time travel scenes where Rebecca goes back to 1775 flowed easily and much of the story was told in the past. The Shenandoah, which is the ship and the main setting, is running gunpowder to the Continental Army and George Washington even makes a brief appearance toward the end of the book.
Cabin 8 is the only cabin that is completely original, with every board it the exact place it was on the ship before it was renovated. This is given as the reason for the time travel. I liked that when Rebecca went back in time, she was in her 21st century clothes. I have read many a book where the clothing magically changes to match the time period and always found it to be a flaw. She only goes back when she goes to sleep at night and she has to be in that specific cabin or she won't travel. Everything made sense and it was easy to understand. There were no complicated explanations that took away from the main story.
The book has both mystery and romance. The slow growing romance between Ben and Rebecca in 1775 is portrayed perfectly, not overdone in any way and I found myself wanting her to somehow get stuck in the past. There is the mystery of what happened to Melissa, who disappeared on the ship five years before and a bit of intrigue and suspense in both time periods as the story begins to present some possible paths for the ending. As usual, I won't give away any spoilers but I was very satisfied when I put the book down and was delighted when I realized there was a second story that focuses on a few of the minor characters in this book.