Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mira's Diary - A Satifying Way to Travel

I had planned to post more about the Spain trip (which I will in due course), but when I arrived home close to midnight nearly two weeks ago, I came down with a summer cold that my husband caught a few days later. The upside of being sick with a cold is that you are sick enough to hold off on work, but not too sick to read! So I read indeed, and with great pleasure. One of these pleasures was Mira's Diary -- Home Sweet Rome.

                                       
Mira's Diary is the charming time travel mystery series by Marissa Moss.
I came across Book I, Lost In Paris, last year and wrote a review of it for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review. You can read the review of Lost in Paris HERE.

The Paris adventure left me waiting for Mira's next one, and Home Sweet Rome does not disappoint.

The over-all frame is this: Mira's mother, a time traveler, is somewhere in the past, trying to avert something terrible happening in the future. She shifts around to various historical eras -- and she can't tell the family all the details, but she leaves postcards as clues as to her next destination. Mira's father -- who knows his wife time travels -- is a renowned photographer on a fellowship to photograph modern wonders of the world. This gives the family the excuse they need to go to the cities mentioned in the postcards. As it turns out, Mira is a time traveler, too, and her mother needs her help in piecing together the various cases that all seem part of the larger mystery.

This time, Mira lands in 16th century Rome during the Inquisition, when the Church is persecuting independent scientific thinkers. Dressed as a boy named Marco, she first works in the kitchen of the Del Monte palazzo. Another servant named Giovanni befriends her and introduces her to his master, none other than the painter Caravaggio. Caravaggio arranges for her to meet Del Monte in person and Mira -- as Marco-- is soon put to work as a scribe, copying letters and reports and cataloguing books for the Cardinal del Monte. Soon she finds her work is connected to the heretical ideas (in those days) of Giordano Bruno, a mathemetician and scientist. (I will not be a spoiler and reveal how these are linked.)

The story is fast paced, the settings wonderfully realized, pulling a reader into a personal experience of ancient architecture and well-known paintings. This is like a free trip to 16th century Rome—a tour of famous buildings, without a tedious tour guide. One of the delights of a series like this is that you can learn about history in ways that aren't a bit dull. Young people will like this book for the adventure, and it's a great introduction to some of the science we take for granted today.

Meanwhile . . . there are the Watchers. The Watchers are a group of "time police" who punish anyone trying to tamper with history. They are trying to hunt down Mira's mother -- and Mira, too, whenever she shows up out of her own time. Mira manages to complete her part of the mission involving Bruno; but her mother hasn't returned to the present, and the overriding mystery remains with an aura of worry for Mira's family. Mira's father believes Mother's ultimate mission involves something in the future that threatens them as a family.

One can only wait for Book Three to get a closer look at what that threat may be, and to enjoy another free trip to a historical locale.

Author, Marissa Moss

Contact information:

Marissa Moss's Website

Facebook

Author Page on Amazon





How about you? Do you like time travel stories? Historical novels? Mysteries? Stories involving art? What are some of your favorite reads? Why?

30 comments:

Rosi said...

Well, this sounds like a GREAT series! I will definitely put these on my TBR list. I love historical fiction and, while I'm not a big fan of fantasy, time travel is something I like very much -- probably because of the historical fiction thing. Thanks for the review. I wasn't aware of these books.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Rosi, yes I think you would enjoy them. Adventure, art, history, time travel, such fun!

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Thanks so much for the book recommendation, Elizabeth. I love historical fiction, fantasy, and time travel!! I'll definitely check out Marissa's website. Hope your summer has been grand, dear friend.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Victoria, if you like those themes, her series is right on. Except for doggie woe's (our dog is old and nearing the end of the road), it's been a great summer so far. Hope you are having a good summer too and that the writing goes well.

Saumya said...

Wow, this is great!! I will definitely have to check this series out. Thank you for the suggestion. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your Spain trip and hope you feel better!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Saumya, I'm pretty much back to normal now. I have another review I want to do, and then I have a really good post written and on the back burner (related to the trip). I'm just waiting for pictures. But do check out this series. It's great!

Julia Hones said...

Mira's diary sounds fascinating.
It reminds me of Sophie's World. Sophie's World is a novel but as you read it you learn about philosophy. I loved this book. I read it a long time ago and I would read it again.
Are you familiar with Sophie's World?

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Julia, I read that book and was utterly fascinated by Sophie's World. This is a different thrust, though, it's truly adventure, but in such great context.

L.G. Smith said...

I do love time-travel stories. I'm a fan of the Outlander books, and also I've been completely sucked into this Sy-Fy show, Continuum, about a woman cop who travels to the present from 2077. It's always fun stuff to think about.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, L. G. You know, I haven't read the Outlander books, although I'm always reading and hearing about them. I'll have to take a peek. I'm not particularly a Sci-Fi fan, but I do like time travel for some reason.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I haven't read any of her books. I should put them on my to-be-read list. I'll check out your review.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Sounds like a great series. I will look them up on Amazon. Hope you are feeling better.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Peaches, thanks for stopping by. If you like time travel adventure, art, and history, you'll like her books.

Rachna, it is. I'me really waiting now for her third. Thanks for the good wishes. I'm over my cold, but so way behind! :-)

Ron Smith said...

This sounds wonderful. I'll have to look for this.

I'm revising a middle grade right now after a great class I just finished.

Old Kitty said...

What incredible and fabulous adventures for Mira!! Time travelling with mum to save the world! Brilliant!

Take care
x

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Ron, thanks for stopping by. Since you write MG fiction, I'm sure you'll enjoy this book. Best wishes for your revision.

Old Kitty, I agree! It's a brilliant device for launching these adventures into history.

Carol Riggs said...

Oh yes, I definitely like time travel stories and mysteries, and definitely art (I'm an artist, though I've done more writing than artwork the past few years!!). I do read some historical too. I really like light fantasy or "magical realism," which is a contemporary story with a twist of weird or magic. :) This book you're featuring sounds good!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Carol, Yes, time travel, mystery, and art -- definitely a good combo!

What kind of art do you do? Watercolors? Oils? Acrylics?

Sylvia Ney said...

Sounds interesting. Thank you for sharing!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Sylvia, Thanks for stopping by and following!

Pam Torres said...

Wonderful book review. I'm always interested in new ways to use time travel. This one sound awesome. The art and cultural esthetic mixed with historical events is intriguing.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Pam, Thanks for stopping by and commenting an following. I agree, mixing art and historical events makes this a unique series. The first in the series involved the French Impressionists.

Mark Noce said...

Neat book:) Have fun in Spain too:)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Mark. The next Spain post will be coming along soon.

T. Drecker said...

These look wonderful! I'm definitely going to check them out. And I hope you enjoy your trip to Spain. Would love to know what part :)

Editors At Work said...

Thanks so much for the recommendation. This sounds like a great series.

Nas

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

T - Yes, do, you won't be disappointed. As for Spain, my husband and I go to the northwest corner of Spain in the region of Galicia - an interesting region that has a Celtic history as well as Spanish.

Editors at Work - Do check the series out. If you like MG mysteries with time travel, you'll really like these.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm sorry you got sick, but glad you found books you like.

I don't normally read historical fiction, but I recently read one I loved.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Theresa, that sounds tantalizing - what what it?

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I meant to say, What was it.