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


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?