Modern and independent seventeen year old Morgan Westbrook thought she had seen all there was to her home town of Scarlet, Georgia, but one day while walking in the woods behind her house she discovers a mysterious door masked behind the trees. After admiring the door’s timeless beauty she walks through its entrance to venture into more woods, but what she doesn’t know is that the door is a gateway through time that takes her back to the year 1863 during the days of the Civil War in Scarlet.
Without knowing that she had traveled back in time, she stumbles upon Danny Carson, an attractive young man who is appalled to see that Morgan is wearing skimpy modern clothes instead of a nineteenth century dress. Although they find each other completely different than anyone they’ve ever known, they cannot help but feel drawn to one another. After spending time in another century, she discovers that she’s time traveled back to the year 1863 and that the door took her there. For months she and Danny journey back and forth through the door to experience the joys of travelling to both of their centuries. When dilemmas of unwanted marriage, slavery, and war are thrown at them, they must face the perils that time travel has delivered them in both the future and the past.
Genre: historical, romance, time-travel, YA
Rating: 3 stars
I admit that I did not know what to expect from Brooke Passmore’s book but I encountered several grammatical errors in the first few chapters; changes of tense within a sentence and I found Danny and Morgan could not decide which dialect they were speaking! I struggled through the first third of the book for these reasons and a lack of connection to the characters and story. However, there was an important point at which I felt Brooke Passmore’s writing transcended beyond the YA genre – and she drew me in. This was when slavery first became an issue in the book. I feel that she dealt with this storyline with honesty – sometimes painfully so – yet, also sensitively, and at these points I was able to truly appreciate her writing.
As the premise of ‘Scarlet Woods’ is that Morgan discovers a doorway standing in the trees which enables her and Danny travel between 2013 and 1893 Brooke Passmore was able to create a company of characters -from history and the present- all with very individual characteristics – who she encourages her reader to like or dislike!
In 1893 the Carson family are all kind, giving, un-materialistic and welcoming. The Walker Family (BOO, HISS!!) are the other side of the coin and are cruel, ruthless, power-hungry and corrupt.
Morgan and Danny are quite uncomplicated characters and they share a very genuine relationship, which is tainted by outside influence. I admired the individual strength Morgan displayed in ‘Scarlet Woods’ and am pleased that Brooke Passmore showed a girl can succeed without a boy!
This book should be read if only to marvel over the beautiful descriptions of the historical parties, which make the reader feel as if they may actually be there. Or to make us feel glad that we no longer live in a time of slavery. Or just to appreciate a good romance or time-travel story. Whatever your reasons ‘Scarlet Woods’ may just be your book!
About Brooke Passmore