Anna Belfrage is a wonderful storyteller, and I'm pleased to share a glimpse into her book, Times of Turmoil, with you. For those who enjoy historical fiction with romance and danger wrapped up in time travel, then read on for an excerpt.
Note: Anna doesn't shy away from realism in her books, which is one of the great things about her storytelling. For those who might be sensitive to it, the scene shared in this post contains elements of beating, though nothing graphic.
About Times of Turmoil
It is 1718 and Duncan Melville and his time traveller wife, Erin, are concentrating on building a peaceful existence for themselves and their twin daughters. Difficult to do, when they are beleaguered by enemies.
Erin Melville is not about to stand to the side and watch as a child is abused—which is how she makes deadly enemies of Hyland Nelson and his family.
Then there’s that ghost from their past, Armand Joseph Chardon, a person they were certain was dead. Apparently not. Monsieur Chardon wants revenge and his sons are tasked with making Duncan—and his wife—pay.
Things aren’t helped by the arrival of Duncan’s cousin, fleeing her abusive husband. Or the reappearance of Nicholas Farrell in their lives, as much of a warped bully now as he was when he almost beat Duncan to death years ago. Plus, their safety is constantly threatened as Erin is a woman of colour in a time and place where that could mean ostracism, enslavement or even death.
Will Duncan and Erin ever achieve their simple wish – to live and love free from fear of those who wish to destroy them?
Buy the Book
This title is available to read on KindleUnlimited.
Praise for Times of Turmoil
“ … As a person of color the standout of Anna Belfrage’s series, and Times of Turmoil in particular, is the struggle of Erin and the radical shift of 300 years that, sadly, shows how little things have changed. As a father, I am always on the lookout for books with characters my daughters can see themselves represented in, and Belfrage gives this to us, wrapped up in a supremely engrossing time travel epic. There is a line where Duncan says, “This is what a white man considers is his right to subject a coloured woman to.” It’s beautiful and disheartening all at once. The plot itself is dynamic and fast-paced, with unexpected twists and turns. The use of ruses and strategies amplifies this, and all of the characters are multi-dimensional, with their own motivations and flaws. Belfrage’s writing is able to evoke strong emotions of empathy, anger, and hope, and this follow-up in the Time Locket series is a solid, worthy read. Very highly recommended.” (Anna sniffs happily) —Reader’s Favorite
Read an Excerpt from Times of Turmoil
Had someone told the young Lettie Graham that one day she’d stand cowering before a man, she’d have laughed. Not her, not when Lettie was the strongest and fastest of all the Graham cousins, the best marksman—whether with musket or bow and arrow—the best rider, the best swimmer. No, that Lettie would never have allowed a man to terrorise her. That Lettie had dreamed of becoming an Amazon, one of those ancient female warriors her grandmother told stories about, brave women who defended the weak and fearlessly rode into battle.
But that was then, before Emrick, before days of being belittled and hurt, of being disciplined by her husband for any infraction.
A wife must be dutiful.
She must be obedient.
She must hold her tongue.
Emrick whipped that message into her back and thighs, leaving purple marks that never quite faded away. No Amazon, just a frightened woman who begged the man she’d promised to love, honour and obey not to hurt her anymore. But he did, and she tried to stop herself from crying out because it made Emrick angry if she didn’t take her punishment in silence.
He slapped her. “You are a useless wife, incapable of keeping a clean house, of cooking a good meal.”
Not true. She kept their home spotless, and from the Dutch oven came the smell of the baking meat pie, but it didn’t matter that she scurried like a frightened mouse from the moment she woke to the moment she fell into exhausted sleep. Emrick always found fault with something.
He hit her again.
“Please,” she begged, and shame clogged her throat. She shouldn’t beg, she should fight back. Her younger self would have done so, but these last few years with Emrick had eroded her courage, left her an insipid and weak woman who likely deserved his ire. After all, she disappointed him. She should do better: clean more, cook tastier meals, sew him nicer clothes.
“Please?” He laughed nastily. “You are a barren shrew, Lettie Graham, and I’ll regret wedding you till the day I die.” He smiled, but his eyes were like jagged shards of glass. Once, she’d thought his green eyes beautiful. Now, they made her shiver with anticipated pain. “Or you die,” he added and swung again.
His fist caught her full in the belly. He hit; she cried out. He hit and hit and hit, and only when she was lying on the floor did he stop. “Clean up the mess,” he ordered before making for the door. “If that floor isn’t as good as new when I get back, I’ll teach you another lesson.”
It took her a long time to get off the floor. Tentatively, she stretched her limbs, wincing at the sudden spurts of pain. She rose to her feet and gasped when her entire midriff protested. Nothing to worry about, no bones broken, only bruises, she told herself before finding a bucket and a clean rag with which to scrub off the blood that dotted the floor.
Emrick did not return home that night. He rarely did when he’d punished her as thoroughly as he’d done today. No, instead he’d be at one of the nearby inns, laughing with his friends before accompanying a whore upstairs. She wondered bitterly if he ever hit them as he hit her. Likely not: the madam would demand payment for any damage done to one of her girls.
The morning after was always the worst. Every movement hurt, from crouching over the chamber pot to staggering out to the kitchen, there to start a bright new day. A tear landed on the worn wood of the table. Another, and she hid her face in her arms and wept.
That was how her neighbour found her. Not that it was the first time Mrs Vincent had seen her like this, but it shamed Lettie nonetheless. The older woman studied her bruised face with evident concern.
“Not good,” she said bluntly. “Unless you leave him, he will kill you. Men like that, they do not stop.” She crossed herself, blushed vividly when she realised Lettie was watching her. Papists were barely tolerated in most of the colonies. Not that Lettie cared, what with one of her aunts having voluntarily embraced the beliefs of the Holy Church, this despite having been raised a good Presbyterian.
Lettie sighed. They’d had this conversation before. “And where would I go?” She rubbed a finger over a stain on the wood. “I am his wife. As such, he can always demand I return to him.”
“Only if he finds you,” Mrs Vincent said.
Unfortunately, Emrick knew there was only one place for her to run to: home. And while both her father and her uncles would do their best to protect her, they would risk serious fines should they attempt to keep her away from her husband. And Emrick had friends in high places, starting with that despicable Nicholas Farrell, as much of a bully and abuser as Emrick himself. Besides, to return home like a whipped cur—it had her innards twisting with shame.
End of Excerpt. © Anna Belfrage
Read Historical Note on Anna's site.
Meet Anna Belfrage
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.
Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.
Anna has recently released Times of Turmoil, the sequel to her 2021 release, The Whirlpools of Time. Here she returns to the world of time travel. Where The Whirlpools of Time had Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin navigating the complexities of the first Jacobean rebellion in Scotland, in Times of Turmoil our protagonists are in Colonial Pennsylvania, hoping for a peaceful existence. Not about to happen—not in one of Anna’s books!
All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.
Find out more about Anna, her books and enjoy her eclectic historical blog on her website, www.annabelfrage.com.
Love great books?
Share with your friends and spread the book love!
Book Title: Times of Turmoil
Author: Anna Belfrage
Publication Date: September 29th, 2023
Publisher: Timelight Press
Page Length: 382 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Time Travel Romance