Reviewed by Kathy Boswell for about.com
In 1995, Amanda Jackson has finally finished restoring Belle Reve, the family plantation. She had given a Restoration Ball that had been a huge success. Two months before the Ball, she'd come across an old truck in the attic that had in it an old faded ball gown and a beautiful diamond pendant. She had the ball gown replicated so she could wear it along with the necklace to the ball.
After the ball she went back to the attic in search of what she didn't know but she would know when she found it. She went back to the trunk where she found the gown and the pendant. Lo and behold she found a diary. Inside the front cover were the words 'The thoughts of Justin Beaumont'. Amanda's father had told her that this was the founder of their family and the original owner of Belle Reve.
Amanda reads the diary thoroughly and is puzzled by what it says. The very last entry is very cryptic. It says that Justin's daughter Angelique would hide using the name Amanda Jackson.
Amanda walks out to the gallery with the diary in her hands. Suddenly she becomes dizzy and finds herself in a short dark corridor. She sees a mirror image of herself. When her fingertips touch that of her mirror image, the thunder roars and white sparks nearly blind her. The next thing she knows is she's looking at the blackened ruins of Belle Reve, facing a very angry man who demands that she turn the diary over to him. Amanda
suddenly realizes that the man is Justin Beaumont and she's just changed places with her ancestor, Angelique Beaumont. Now Amanda has to solve the mystery of her ancestors before she is able to go home to the present.
This book was absolutely marvelous and thoroughly enjoyable. I
particularly enjoy reading time travel stories and have an affinity to New Orleans, both of which are in this book. It is most definitely a must read.
Kathy's Faves and Raves
Reviewed by Suzanne Coleburn, The Belles & Beaux of Romance
"Linda Opdyke is a multi-talented author who gets better with every book. She excites and challenges you with her superb characters and plots. SOUTHERN CROSS is another keeper!"
SOUTHERN CROSS is a mesmerizing time-travel set in Louisiana in l995 at Belle Reve's Restoration Ball. Amanda Jackson has undertaken to complete her parents' dream after their tragic deaths of restoring the old family mansion. Months before completion, an old trunk had been found in the attic with a lovely diamond pendant and a watered silk gown. Amanda had the gown replicated so she could wear it and the pendant at the ball. Between some clothes she uncovered an old diary written by Justin Beaumont beginning in l845 with his marriage to Claudine Hamilton.
Belle Reve had been a wedding gift from Claudine's father, and in l846 they had a daughter named Angelique. On further reading, she discovered something awful was about to happen and Angelique was in danger. Then the entries ended. Amanda wondered what secrets were about to be revealed? As she wanders out onto the gallery she becomes dizzy and cannot move and then little sparks of light surround her fingers and she sees her mirror image coming toward her and she switches places with her ancestor Angelique in l867!
Well, you can imagine how startled and how much my interest was peaked after this little scenario, can't you? There was no way I was putting this story down now. Amanda finds herself in the presence of Justin Beaumont as he takes the diary out of her hands and is announcing that she is in danger so he's going to send her to New Orleans for safety at a friend's boarding house. They will fake her death on the morrow.
One month later she is in New Orleans with very little money and working at a coffeehouse. When she is riled at some remarks made concerning her and she flies into a rage and mistakenly goes to the wrong address and assaults prominent jeweler Nichols St. Laurent by hitting him over the head several times with a broom. Through this she loses her job at the coffeehouse and comes right back at Nicholas again, whereupon he offers her a job at the jewelry shop to make up for it. For some reason this termagant of a woman intrigues him. He doesn't know he is dealing with a 90s woman who can stand up for herself. The story switches back so we can see how Angelique is faring in her new world so your interest is held fast throughout the story.
The whole thing is centered on the heirloom Southern Cross that was taken from Nick's father when the house was robbed when Nick and his brother Michel were young. This is an exciting tale with two storylines going, both in the past and the future to keep you up late burning the midnight oil. Each woman meets a tantalizing man and there are plenty of love sparks to ignite more than a few fires. Combine that with a great mystery, super secrets and a few dead bodies and you have an unforgettable story!
Suzanne "I Want to Go on a Time-Travel Adventure" Coleburn
Reviewed by Alycia Harris for Midnight Scribe Reviews
Amanda Jackson is reading the 130 year old passage in her ancestor's diary. "…It is done. She will hide, using the name Amanda Jackson…" Amanda is shocked. She didn't know that she had been named for an ancestor! Then, suddenly Amanda's world is turned inside out when she ends up 130 years in her past. Surviving in post-war New Orleans while trying to find her way back to the present is no easy task - especially considering Amanda's penchant for speaking her mind.
Opdyke has written an interesting and believable story. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. Amanda's character is fun because she is truly a 90s gal caught more than a century earlier. The character development is well done considering that it spans two centuries.
Opdyke developed characters that are believable and appropriate to the time and place. A feat not always seen in time travel books. Face it, a 1990s woman is going to be out of place in the 1860s and vice versa.
Opdyke moved along smartly with her story. I appreciate that she didn't waste time on fluff, but stuck with the plot. There were no yawn sessions while reading this book. It was fun and not too predictable. It was an easy read and thoroughly deserves five stars.
Reviewed By Alycia Harris: Midnight Scribe Reviews