What a ride! The Other Side of Heaven is one thrilling adventure that most assuredly surprised me. As a huge fan of time travel romances, I thought I knew what to expect when I picked up this novel. I was most definitely (and pleasantly) wrong. The story is a non-stop roller coaster ride of twists and turns through the annals of history. The characters are plucked from the pages of history itself, and embellished with fanciful detail, as only the author could do. The most surprising detail to me was that this story was based on actual history that really did happen, although interwoven with fiction. All told, this novel, the first of two that I am aware of, is a beautiful tale of love and loss, betrayal and devotion. It is a tale not to be missed.
Gwen Godwyn has always been interested in history, specifically with an emphasis on her own family. In an effort to discover more of her own history, she travels to a small Italian town her family supposedly originated from. While visiting, she meets a young man named Stefano. He’s young and gorgeous, and upon deeper discussion, it appears he may be a distant cousin! A violent earthquake erupts. Gwen and Stefano are ripped out of their own time, and tossed, crazily, back into the Dark Ages! They are quickly separated. To save herself, Gwen dons the cowl of a monk, and joins forces with a handsome knight named Alberto to stop the evil Willa of Tuscany and her husband, Count Berengar, who have kidnapped the rightful queen, Adelaide. But what happened to Stefano? And what will happen to Gwen and Alberto? Can they save Queen Adelaide? Or will all be for naught?
Californian Gwendolyn Godwyn seeks to learn her family’s history and hopes to restore the bond that once existed between her Italian forebearers and those who live in America. While visiting her ancestral Italian town, Gwen is caught in a violent earthquake and inexplicably thrust through time.
At first refusing to believe what has happened, she nevertheless uses her wits to survive, donning a monk’s cowl to hide her identity as a woman. Ripped apart from all she has ever known, Gwen finds herself in the midst of brutal territorial battles in an era she once blithely called “The Dark Ages.” When the golden Italian summer of 951 emerges from the strife and gloom, Gwen joins forces with a cadre of gallant men, allies in the struggle against the evil nobles, Willa of Tuscany and Count Berengar, kidnappers of Italy’s rightful queen, Adelaide.
Along with Father Warinus and Lord Alberto Uzzo, Gwen seeks to rescue Adelaide and restore her kingdom. In the midst of this great adventure, Gwen falls in love with the complex and passionate Alberto, to whom she reveals her identity as a woman. But can Alberto learn to love her strong and independent nature and help Gwen in her quest to discover her rightful place in time? (Sensuality Level: Sensual)
This is the first in a series that needs to be read in order. Book two is: Time Enough for Love.