Veil of Time

Written by Claire R. McDougall
Review by Elizabeth Knowles

This time-travel story is set in both present day and 8th-century western Scotland. Maggie Livingstone Griggs moves from Glasgow to a cottage near the rocky crag of Dunadd, where the ancient Dál Riata kings were crowned. She is fleeing from the death of a child and a subsequent divorce; she is estranged from her son. Maggie is epileptic; sadly, her daughter died from the same disorder. While working on her dissertation about witch-burning, Maggie awaits the lobectomy that will cure her of her intractable seizures – the same convulsions that killed her little girl.

Following the seizures, Maggie enters into deep, protracted dream states that take her into 8th-century Dunadd. Here she meets and befriends the ban-druidhe, a wise-woman who is powerful and respected. Maggie falls in love with Fergus, the brother of the king. His young daughter, Illa, could be the identical twin of Maggie’s dead child, Ellie. Maggie needs to make a heart-wrenching decision as the scheduled lobectomy looms near. Should she stay in the 8th century with Fergus and Illa, or undergo the surgery, closing the door to the past and allowing her to return to her surviving son, Graeme?

Readers will wonder up until the end what choice Maggie will make, and the bittersweet resolution is strangely satisfying. Fans of early medieval Scotland, time travel novels, romance, and possibly medical dramas will like this haunting, debut novel by the Scottish-born McDougall.