Fallam’s Secret

Written by Denise Giardina
Review by Sarah Nesbeitt

In the year 2001, Lydde Falcone is a 55-year-old single woman living abroad when she’s notified of the death of her dearly loved uncle. Returning home to rural West Virginia to comfort her grieving aunt, she discovers–and follows–some unusual directions that her physicist uncle had left behind. No one could be more surprised than Lydde when she enters a nearby cave and suddenly discovers herself back in England–but England in the year 1657, the next-to-last year of Cromwell’s rule. Though the route back to the present is left open, she finds some compelling reasons to remain, such as her growing attraction to a 17th century Robin Hood who secretly braves the wrath of the town’s Puritan leaders to smuggle goods to the town’s starving poor. Though this intriguing romance would have been sufficient to keep me reading, there are some humorous moments, too–such as when an adventurer from the past, discovering a 21st century toilet, believes it to be a sink to wash his soiled clothing. The author’s fluid prose has a quiet power that engages the mind as well as the heart, and her environmental beliefs are inserted gracefully into the text. Though Giardina doesn’t tie up all the loose threads she begins, the conclusion is entirely satisfactory, and it left me as few novels do–with a smile on my face.