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The Keys of the Watchmen
In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
|The Keys of the Watchmen
by Kathleen C. PERRIN
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This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
If you have read most of my 425 reviews, you know I very rarely read Young Adults books, that in fact I had NEVER before read a New Adult novel, and that usually time travel is really not my cup of tea. And here we go: 5 Eiffel Towers in all their shine for the amazing historical suspense novel The Keys of the Watchmen. According to my rating, it means “OMG, you have to read this NOW!” Keep reading to know why!
Katelyn Michaels, aka Katie, 17, comes only reluctantly to France, to accompany her younger brother Jackson, 14. Jackson loves history and is really excited at visiting Mont Saint Michel, where a Christian sanctuary was established in the 8th century. Katie is far less interested.
But events take an unexpected turn there for her: first she has this feeling of having been to this place before, and also of being watched by two weirdos: a guy wearing some type of Medieval religious habit and a sinister creature with a Gothic look. “The monk” (Nicolas) secretly puts an ancient medallion in her backpack.
When she follows his directions and uses this “key” in the underground chapel, she is sent back in 1424, a key year for le Mont: we are in The Hundred Years’ War, fifteen years after Agincourt. Mont Saint Michel is the only French territory, trying to stand against the English invasion –Normandy is English by then. The Montois (the inhabitants of Mont Saint Michel) are under siege, starving, desperate and it seems Katie is the only one who can help them.
But imagine: you are a teen used to the comfort of the 21st century, and you end up in the fifteenth century, in the middle of a war torn area. Remember: no shower, no bathroom, no snacks. Aren’t you going to run for your life and use that key to come back to your comfy cozy time? I won’t tell you what decision Katie made of course, but you have to trust me that this book is pure awesome.
- It is of course full of suspense, as you discover what Katie’s mission is and what she might be able to do, IF she decides to stay and do it!
- It is so funny, hilarious (especially with clashing details on 15th and 21st century society –clothing, hair, tattoos and body-piercing!, modern technology), smart, well thought. Nicolas is totally appalled at how through the ages le Mont has changed into a place of business
He didn’t know much about the twenty-first century, except for what he’d seen in his two weeks there, but Nicolas had immediately recognized it as a self-indulgent society where immediate gratification was the order of the day. p.137
- It is packed with tons of information on history (Medieval and modern, as Katie tries to explain for instance the birth of America!, and as she gets inspiration from a page of war against Charlemagne), art, architecture, and also how tides work (they are extremely strong at Mont Saint Michel). Though you never have the impression of reading a textbook
I also really loved how Katie’s adventure connected deep with the religious aspect of le Mont: a legend says that it’s the place where Archangel Michael (hence the name) defeated evil. So this is also all about the struggle between good and evil. Each part of the book actually opens with a quotation from the Bible on the topic.
The characters feel very real, the Medieval ones just as the modern ones. They all struggle at reconciling their present life with life lived in another place and another time. Katie matures beautifully throughout the book, and Nicolas and his mentor show an amazing openness of mind.
I loved also the style of the writing, with the use of the present tense.
Just a couple of minor issues:
- Richard Collins seems to be a totally fictive figure. Why not choose a real commander? There are lots of texts on the siege and details on who took part in it
- Alas, there are some French mistakes. Again, I wish writers quoting French would submit their French passages to some French natives. “A était” is awful conjugation, something like, “was has been”.
I will have to wait until next book (don’t fear, it’s in the works!) to know the meaning of Katie’s key. The one pictured on the book cover is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Katie’s looks like one or 2 other Hebrew letters, though the indentation should be on the left, not on the right, so it looks twisted around.
VERDICT: I highly recommend The Keys of the Watchmen to all lovers of historical suspense and Medieval France. It is funny, very smartly thought out, and packed with great information on Mont Saint Michel. Grab your key and follow Katie right now: time travel at its best on one of France most unique islands!
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
Katelyn Michaels plans on hating every moment of her visit to Mont Saint Michel with her father’s new French wife. Once there, she is confused when she experiences sensations of déjà vu as she and her younger brother explore the medieval village and abbey. She is even more disturbed when she is confronted by two unusual young men, one who insists she has a sacred mission, and the other who will stop at nothing, even murder, to stop her from fulfilling her destiny.
When the oddly-dressed but alluring Nicolas slips Katelyn a strange medallion, she is whisked back through time where her Watchmen hosts tell her she is the only hope to save Mont Saint Michel. Even worse, she learns that those trying to destroy the mount are led by a fallen angel intent on learning the mount’s closely-guarded secret.
Katelyn is torn by feelings of anger at being taken back in time, inadequacy at finding a modern solution for a medieval problem, and responsibility for the mount’s starving inhabitants. She is also perturbed by her surprising attraction to the ill-tempered Nicolas. Will she stay to learn why she was chosen by the Archangel Michael and find a way to save his mount?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathleen C. Perrin holds Bachelor’s degrees
from Brigham Young University in French and Humanities,
and graduated summa cum laude.
She is a certified French-to-English translator.
While completing her education, Kathleen met and married a dashing young Frenchman.
They have spent years investigating the mysteries and beauties of his native country,
and have a cottage in Brittany.
For a ten-year period they took tourists to Mont Saint Michel,
where she served as tour guide.
Kathleen has lived in Utah, New York City, France, and for eight years in French Polynesia.
She has worked professionally as a language and music teacher, translator, interpreter and writer.
She has published several non-fiction articles,
academic papers, and a religious history about Tahiti.
Traveling and learning about new countries and cultures is a passion for Kathleen,
but her latest passion is sharing France through her fiction.
The Perrins have three children, and currently reside in Utah.
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
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