Discover the world of medieval Scotland

Reviews

Wow! The title and cover of this book might lead one to believe that it will be a sweet, bland story, but will find that it is anything but that. This book is fun, exciting and will keep you enthralled with this very original story. If you are like me, you will have a hard time putting it down to get anything else done. I was completely caught up in the story and absolutely loved it! It takes a talented writer to keep switching from medieval to modern times without it being an awkward transition, but Vosika manages to make that switch effortlessly. She takes two characters who are complete opposites, but happen to look identical, inserts them into the cultures of the other, separated by centuries, and makes it all work. This book is a treat to say the least. I’m looking forward to the rest of the trilogy!

~ Marta at Marta’s Meanderings ~
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This fascinating book is filled with history, romance, mystery and humor as well as a bit of time traveling to boot! I literally could not put this book down and spent the entire night in Inverness, Scotland until the wee hours of the dawn with the fabulous cast of characters that author Laura Vosika has created.

I was especially impressed at the way Vosika wove into the story an underlying story of faith, and how important his relationship with God was to Naill, the Scottish Warrior who had been plunked down in the middle of today’s world. It’s not “in your face,” but the message of hope is there, as comforting and warm as an inspirational message should be. Very well done.

“Blue Bells of Scotland” is the first book in Vosika’s Blue Bells Trilogy, and I, for one, can’t wait until the next installment!

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I have thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I have only read a few time travel novels and really so far only really liked one author and now I can say I have found a second.  I had a hard time putting this book down.  I really love a great historical and to have the time travel added to it was a treat.  I was engrossed in the story from the beginning and really liked the way the switch between the two men and how they realized what had happened.  I found that the characters had plenty of details and the story was nicely written with a large amount of research that has been put into this book to create such a wonderful story.  I have read a couple of time travel books that really made me feel lost and at times I would have a hard time following it because they seem too choppy but not with this novel.  Laura Vosika has a way with words and made this story come to life and I just love being swept away with a great read.  I also like the fact that I thought I knew what was going to happen  and then was surprised when something different than I expected happened.  I thought that this was a great first book to start off the trilogy and I will be reading the next one. 

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“Laura Vosika spins a captivating tale that combines historical fiction with time travel and a bit of reverse alternate history cleverly woven in. Instead of changing the final outcome of an important historical event, Vosika changes the history at the start of the novel so that her time traveler changes it to what actually is. Although the grandfather paradox is mentioned, no consequences are shown for the changed history that the time travel generated such as people disappearing as if they never existed. The pacing flows from a measured cadence at the start of the tale and builds to a climatic crescendo reminiscent of Ravel’s Bolero.

Just before the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn, the two main characters, Shawn Kleiner, a twenty-first century classical trombonist who has rock-star fame, switches places with Niall Campbell, a fourteenth century lord, soldier, and harpist. Niall and Shawn are effectively clones, and so are seen by their peers to be the persons they were expected to be. One thing that often bothers me in time travel tales is how the time traveler is able to understand radically different versions of the same language. Vosika shows how Niall works through the language change in a believable way.

Vosika created a plausible background for both characters that allowed them to function—albeit awkwardly—in the others time. I was able to suspend my disbelief that these two men had these skills and were physically identical to each other. I particularly liked Shawn’s transformation from an arrogant womanizer who only thinks about himself and what people can do for him, to an unpretentious loyal friend—a man ready to lay down his life for a cause he believes in.
…I become invested in the characters. Blue Bells of Scotland does not disappoint. Both Shawn and Niall are fully fleshed and I could imagine having a conversation with each…. This is one book that I found hard to put down.

Even though this is only the first book, I found the ending sufficiently satisfying, giving me the patience to wait for the second of the trilogy. That said; write faster, Laura. I want to read more.

~ Joan Szechtman ~
author of This Time
See the full review at Joan’s blog, Random Thoughts of An Accidental Author

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Blue Bells of Scotland is a thoroughly engrossing time travel story that promises to continue as vividly as it started. Two men, one in present day and one in 1314, fall asleep in the same spot in a castle near Inverness, Scotland. What ensues is a multilayered story of growth and redemption with a stunning conclusion at the famous battle of Bannockburn in June 1314.
Shawn is an arrogant, reckless, and often heartless headliner in an American classical orchestra touring Scotland. Niall is the future laird of the castle where each falls asleep with the scent of bluebells in his nostrils. Niall appears to be the smarter, more adaptable of the two, figuring out first where he is and how to pass for Shawn, his look-alike. Shawn on the other hand is convinced he has been kidnapped by historical reenactors gone too far, and he makes mistake after mistake but nevertheless manages to stay alive while traitors and English soldiers hunt him. It is clear that some force has made the switch so that each man can affect some change in events or their own lives. This is the story then, if and how each man accomplishes what he must.

I found only one significant problem in this otherwise fascinating novel. The bulk of the story switches back and forth between the two men in their respective temporal exile. The trouble is that the time elapsed does not always seem to sync. Vosika also throws in a new observer in the person of a man Shawn cheated before he, well, leaped. This diversion was, I felt, unnecessary, as the police could have told Niall about the incident, and it further confused the timeline for me.

Now, however, I get to talk about everything else that was right about this work of heart, and there is so much. The characters, including the two protagonists, and the people from each of their worlds, are complex, well drawn, distinct and draw your concern or whatever other emotion. I can’t say whether I was supposed to like the love interest in the present, a violinist named Amy, but I did not. She is such a doormat that I wanted to scream at her much of the time as I was reading. But that’s not an error, just an interpretation on my part. The story is credible and full of nuance.You see the two men changing when faced with unfamiliar stresses. There is ample cause for tension in either man’s experience, Shawn having to face mortal danger without the fighting skills Niall was taught, and Niall having to fit into a future full of seductive comforts while also living up to Shawn’s musical genius.

Vosika has a particular gift with visuals. Each time I came to one of these bits of exquisite imagery I stopped and savored it. A lemon slice swirls lazily in a glass of ice water. A bar of light appears in the darkness when Amy opens to door to the outside. Fog wraps around Niall’s ankles like purring cats.
A couple of other things I particularly enjoyed. Throughout the story historical reenactment is a theme. It never seems in the least forced. In fact, it is so integral a part of the climactic sequence that it amplifies the tension of the scenes tremendously. Other factors that clicked well with me were the images of twins, the hints about the past from folk songs and the loving and expert use of music throughout the tale, and finally the plausibility of the story of how times might influence each other.
 
author of An Involuntary King
 
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Think Highlander, Trading Places and a dozen other great movies and books thrown together with a gentle touch of music and a story that makes you want to keep turning the pages and you’ll get the first book in my today’s guest Laura Vosika, and her first book in the fiction trilogy “Blue Bells of Scotland.”
I myself found the whole idea of the story and the flow of the characters something that has me longing to read the second book, even more so with the snippet Laura shared about a character turning up at the battle of Bannockburn offering coffee.

~ Barry Eva at A Book and a Chat ~
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“Blue Bells of Scotland is the first in the Blue Bells Trilogy and when asked if I would review this book I immediately accepted. The story line sounded promising and Laura Vosika does not disappoint, as she had be completely hooked by page 64, which was a delightful surprise.

Blue Bells of Scotland is a delightfully intricate tale of time travel, life lessons, challenges of faith, and redemption, alternating between present day Scotland and 1314 Scotland, where the lives of Shawn Kleiner and Niall Campbell become intertwined. In a superb twist, Vosika has Shawn, an arrogant, self-centered, brilliant trombone player travel back in time to 1314 Scotland where the MacDonald clan is preparing for the Battle of the Pools. Meanwhile Niall, the next Laird in the MacDonald clan travels forward in time to take the place of Shawn. The results of this fantastically seamless time travel bring about a rather exciting first novel in Vosika’s Blue Bell Trilogy. Shawn must learn to live as a warrior, while Niall must learn to live 700 years in the future, both determined to find a way back to their own time. I found myself more drawn to Niall, who not only appeared to handle the thought of hurdling 700 years into the future better than Shawn did traveling back in time, but Niall also appeared to care more of those lives he was affecting as well as worrying about those he left behind and the duties and honor his had sworn to uphold. Rather than stare in wonderment at a future Niall could never dream of he gets to work, trying to fit in as well as to repair relationships and deep wounds Shawn afflicted on too many by his careless and self-centered deeds. I found the story moving, witty, and captivating. This was indeed a page-turner and I look forward to finishing the trilogy. I highly recommend this novel to anyone. It makes for a fantastic read and would make an excellent gift.”

~ Jennifer at Rundpinne ~
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I was NOT expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I honestly just thought that it would be a nifty little story and that’s that. I would read it, finish it, and be completely underwhelmed. I’m not really sure why I had that notion, but I was wrong! Really, I loved this story! The characters grew on me as I read. I loved the way that Laura Vosika used time travel theme, but didn’t make it at all seem cheesy. I am not a fan of the Outlander series. I have to mention it because there are some similarities, but from my point of view I enjoyed this one better. I couldn’t get into the Outlander books, but I completely and utterly devoured Blue Bells!
The book was very nicely written, very strong storyline and again awesome characters. I loved how they developed as the story went along. The ending is sad and I have no idea how the story will go! I have to say that if I were to rate this book I’d give it a solid B! Lovely story and very good writing! I’ll say it again..I ate this book up and loved it!
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“BLUE BELLS OF SCOTLAND is an entertaining, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad story, about two men propelled into adverse situations, which will forever alter their lives. Laura Vosika is a storyteller with a propensity for lots of details which truly makes this story vivid and believable. She skilfully weaves plenty of tension into the tale as the reader explores Scottish history. The main characters not only travel through time, but they find themselves on a journey of self-discovery. As such, they evolve and change in a touching, sometimes heart-wrenching manner. It is this, along with a richness of detail, that makes this story larger than life. BLUE BELLS OF SCOTLAND, is the first instalment of a three book series. For lovers of time travel, medieval, or Scottish history, this story has it all.”

~ Mirella Patzer ~
author of Bloodstone Castle and Heinrich the Fowler
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This was a very enticing read. It takes you to another time and the details help bring the story to life. I definitely recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading the other books in the trilogy!

~Courtney Scullin, Minneapolis~
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I was somewhat apprehensive when starting this book, thinking that it might be like any other book I’ve read involving time travel and historical events (specifically those that took place in Scotland). I was fortunate enough to have won an advance copy of the book, so I gave the book a full chance, and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Pretty soon after starting the book, I found myself not wanting to put the book down, curious about what would be happening next, where the story was going to go, and how things would turn out in the end.

Writing a review isn’t something I often do with a book, since I much prefer reading to writing, but I felt this book deserved one. It was well worth the read, the scenery and descriptions of events were very well done, and I found myself still thinking about the characters and events after having finished the book. I honestly can’t wait for the next book in the trilogy.

I know a number of my friends would love this book, so I’m hoping they’ll give it a chance, too.

~Goodreads Review~
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“I approached this book with a mix of excitement and trepidation. I love time travel books, but Blue Bells of Scotland is such a challenging mix of medieval and modern culture, with two heroes that seem shockingly different at first, music, romance and warfare. There’s a lot going on in this story and I wondered whether the author could pull all these threads together into such a complicated tapestry. I need not have worried, Ms. Vosika wove all these aspects and more together in a very masterful way that drew me in and kept me spellbound. The characters of Shawn and Niall, while appearing very different at first, gradually come to resemble brothers born seven hundred years apart. I planned this as a leisurely read, but by the time I was halfway through, I kept racing on to the very end. In fact I could hardly put it down. Read this book!”

~ Thea Nilsson ~
author A Shunned Man
 
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“Absolutely brilliant! I was so taken with this book and I am impatiently waiting the second installment.”

~ Bridget at Readaholic ~
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Loved it! Original & intelligently written. Towards the end, I could not turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened. The end was definitely not what I expected. I can’t wait until the next in the series comes out! I will be the first in line to get it. Thanks Laura Vosika for sharing your engaging story. Keep tapping those keys on the keyboard…carry on!

~Dorsi Miller~
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Absolutely fantastic book. A really well done time travel. Loved it!!

~ Goodreads.com reader ~
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Blue Bells of Scotland is the best time travel book I have ever read. I liked it better than Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Fantastic descriptive detail and a sweet love story are combined beautifully. I eagerly await the next one.

~ Amazon Reviewer~
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“What if you could swap your life with someone in years long past? It’s one of those questions I ask myself a lot. This book explores the possibilities of time travel and changing personalities.

Shawn Kleiner has it all, including a shallow, self serving personality to boot. Niall Campbell is Shawn’s twin from the past – everything that makes a man a man – the complete opposite of Shawn. When circumstances cause them to trade places in time and history – we see one man remain loyal to himself and one man change dramatically.

This book puts you right there, next to both men. Whether at the symphony or in battle, Ms. Vosika spins the web so well you are a part of all the action. If you love history, if you love romance, if you love music and if you like the believable unbelievable…this book is for you. I started it and couldn’t put it down until I closed the cover on an ending I never expected.

Three cheers for Blue Bells of Scotland. Cannot wait to read the next volume of this trilogy.”

 ~ Kat Yares ~
author of Kat’s Tales: Journeys into the Velvet Darkness
 
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“Blue Bells Of Scotland is some of the best writing it has been my pleasure to read in some time. At first I was beginning to wonder where it was going. The more I read the less I cared where it was going because Ms Vosika kept me wrapped up in what was happening every moment. Each switch from medieval to modern times was so smooth and integrated that places and characters all felt perfectly natural and plausible. To meld two individuals diametrically opposite in morals and attitudes, alike only in personal appearance into each others cultures and customs separated by seven centuries is a daunting challenge. The author handled it skillfully enough that the reader feels involved and apprehensive. A thoroughly enjoyable read.”

~ J.R.Jackson ~ 
author of The Ancient Mariner Tells All, Reilley’s Sting, and Reilley’s War
 
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“Laura has done an incredible job researching Scotland in the time period and relating the characters to present and historic time to tell a very exciting tale.”

author of Of Mourning Doves and Heroes, Cardinal Red,
Last Cry of the Whippoorwill, and Eye of the Serpent
 
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“Vosika is a master at creating engaging characters like Niall Campbell, a new hero from medieval Scotland, and Shawn Kleiner, a womanizing modern musician. The fun is in watching the story unfold, with a riveting plot, a well-drawn cast, and the beautiful imagery of Scotland.”

author of Hot Pants and Green Stamps: Growing Up in the 50’s and 60’s
and memoirs of Northeast Minneapolis
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“I always love books about time travel, but this book is so much more. The characters come to life in your heart and mind and as they grow and change, their victories seem just like your own.”

~Jeryl Struble, singer/songwriter, Journey to Joy~
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“Laura Vosika’s new novel is fast-paced, well-written, and witty, with an intriguing time travel twist that sends two look-alike men–present day Shawn, acclaimed musician, manipulator, and womanizer, back to 14th Century Scotland right before the ill-fated historical Battle of Bannockburn; and Niall–honorable, battle-prepared warrior–to fill each other’s shoes. Captivating!”

~ Stephanie Derhak ~ 
author of White Pine Treasures
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“One of the most intriguing stories of Scottish history I have ever read. The characters came alive, and through their experiences of love, loss, hope, and redemption, I learned there is a bit of good in everyone. The time travel adventure combined with historical perspective were riveting. I eagerly await the sequels that are to come.”

~Pamela Borum, Minneapolis, MN~

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