Sparks of Light

Sparks of Light

by Janet B. Taylor


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In this sequel to the dazzling time-travel romance Into the Dim, Hope jumps back in time to The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City. Sacrifice takes on a whole new meaning as Hope and Bran struggle to determine where—or when—they truly belong.

“The perfect blend of mystery, sci-fi, action, cute guys, romance, history and gorgeous Scotland.” —Justine magazine on Into the Dim

It’s been more than a month since Hope rescued her mom from the brutal twelfth century. For the first time in her life, Hope has friends . . . and a boyfriend. She’s a Viator now, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors.

When the Viators learn of the Timeslipper’s plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nicolas Tesla, it’s a race to see who can get to him first. They travel to the glittering golden age of New York in the year 1903, where Hope must confront her past to secure her future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544609570
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 1,021,682
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.44(d)
Lexile: HL760L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Janet B. Taylor is the author of Into the Dim. She travels extensively to the places where her novels are set, often roaming at night to commune with historical figures. She lives in Arkansas with her family and Dorda the dog. Visit her at

Read an Excerpt


     Decapitate, verb. From the Latin, decapitatus. To remove the head from the rest of the body.
     It happened in the bedroom. In my bedroom to be specific, though it still seemed bizarre to think of it as mine, this once-sumptuous chamber of velvet and marble and antique furniture that was so massive and solid it would likely survive the apocalypse. As with a prom queen at the end of a long night of debauchery, only touches of the room’s original glamour remained.
     Not that I had firsthand prom knowledge per se. But one does read about these things.
     After another excruciating day, which had included three muddy hours of stabbing practice, my muscles were in full-on noodle mode, and I was already mentally sinking into my comfy, if craterous, feather mattress. So when I pushed open the door, it took me a second to get it. Though I froze before the utter and complete annihilation scattered across the scuffed floorboards, my brain, Old Reliable, began to catalogue the horror.
     Splayed, crooked limbs. Clothing ripped to shreds. Matted clumps of hair strewn about a slim, fragile neck that was now nothing but a ragged stump.
     I did not see a head.

Yes, my life had become decidedly weird in the last few months. And though it hadn’t been what most folks would call apple-pie normal in the first place, at least there’d been no brain-twisty flights through time and space, no assault, no mutilation or bloodshed.
     That was no longer the case.
     Since arriving at my aunt’s manor in the Scottish Highlands, I’d seen medieval soldiers battle with blood and sword. I’d befriended a legendary queen. I’d been pursued by a vengeful saint. I’d engineered a prison escape and helped bring my mother back from the dead.
     I’d killed a guy.
     Maybe. Probably. The temporal jury was still out on that one. The fact that he’d been a very bad guy didn’t temper the horrible nightmares.

But this victim had been an innocent. Her destruction a direct result of my own negligence. I took in a breath and stepped inside. As I picked my way through torn lace and body parts, my heart tried to crumble into minuscule, crackling bits.
     No, I thought as I faced off with the murderess herself. This I will never forgive. This was assassination. For this I will forever swear vengeance upon your head.

With a smirk playing around her unrepentant mouth, the killer sat down on the floor amid the carnage she had wrought and—​without the slightest hint of remorse—​began to lick her own butt.
     “Oh, that’s real nice.”
     My best friend’s new calico kitten interrupted her bath, one leg raised in that peculiar contortion only cats can perform, and blinked at me with wide, oh-so-innocent eyes.
     “Oh, don’t you dare look at me like that,” I snarled at the little puff-head. “I know you did it.”
     The fur-ball stood on three stubby legs and glared at me for daring to chastise her. The right rear leg dangled, nothing but a nub, though it didn’t slow her even the slightest.
     Mac, Collum and Phoebe’s grandfather, had found her outside the barn. Wet, bloodied, one of her legs mangled beyond repair. After returning from the vet, the feline had quickly usurped control of the manor.
     She stretched languidly, back arching as she gave a yippy little yawn. I frowned and reached down to snatch a hunk of blond hair caught in her whiskers.
     “This.” I waved it before her. “Is evidence. See it? Red. Freaking. Handed.”
     With a little hiss, she raised a minute paw and batted at the blond curl. I jerked back just in time to avoid having my finger ripped open by needle-sharp claws.
     The kitten had evil in her, I was sure of it. She despised anyone with two X-chromosomes, though for some reason, she adored the guys. Mac, in particular, was smitten, toting her around, the little whiskered face peeking out from the pocket of his down vest. Her only redeeming feature was how utterly uncomfortable she made Collum, as she continually appeared out of nowhere and yowled at him to pick her up.

“Why?” I whispered as I surveyed the destruction. “What did I ever do to you?”
     She’d been delicate, beautiful. Ancient. Much, much older than the eighteenth-century house itself. The beheaded doll that now lay in scattered ruin across my bedroom floor was the only evidence of my true origins. The only reminder of the child I had once been.
     That is, the only tangible reminder. In a way that hurts my brain to think on, just twelve years had passed since someone had plucked her from an icy forest, keeping her safe until he could return her to me.
     Twelve years, give or take a few hundred.

“Hey, Hope, have you seen Hec . . .”
     Phoebe MacPherson skidded to a halt in the doorway. Her hair, previously spiky and the color of blue-raspberry soda, now bore a sleek, chin-length bob, and was dyed what could only be described as shrieking purple. Freckled, barely five feet, and sporting her favorite panda-print jammies, my friend would’ve looked closer to twelve than sixteen if it hadn’t been for her rather abundant chest.
     Phoebe gasped as she took in the shredded, headless body. “Oh-h-h,” she moaned. “No-o-o. No no no! Tell me she didn’t.”
     I shrugged. “She did.” I turned away before she could notice my lips trembling. “My fault. I must’ve left the door open.”
     Phoebe knelt, and carefully scooped up the fragile carcass. Bits of yellow silk floated to the ground. We both looked around for the head. I spotted it first, half-buried beneath a pillow.
     “Got it.” I climbed up the three wooden steps and stretched out full-length across the mattress. As my fingers closed around the round shape, the cat jumped up on the bed to claim her prize.
     Avoiding her, I sat up and stared at the delicate painted face in my cupped palm. I sniffed. Stupid to get upset about a dumb doll. Still.
     Soft fur rubbed against my elbow. I glanced down as Sister Hectare “Hecty” MacPherson gave a sympathetic meow and nestled against my side.
     “Oh, no. I do not accept your apology, you furry little butt-head.”
     Hecty nudged me.
     “Don’t you get all purry with me, missy,” I said. “You are a bad, bad kitty.”
     Phoebe climbed the steps and settled in on my other side, holding the carcass’s torso in her lap. I tried to maintain my ire, but when the kitten put her paws on my leg and looked up at me again in that melty, Puss-in-Boots way, I groaned. Conceding defeat, I reached down to scratch the velvety spot just behind her ears.
     She hissed, and tried to rip the head from my hands with her tiny teeth. I snatched it away just in time. Disgusted, the cat hopped down and—​tail high—​stalked out the door.
     “Doesn’t really match the name, does she?” I said. “Sister Hectare was nice. That thing is a nightmare.”
     “Well, the good sister did have sharp claws, aye?”
     I huffed. “That’s true enough.”
     The stud through Phoebe’s eyebrow glinted as we shared wobbly smiles, both of us thinking of the decrepit little nun who’d used up the last bit of her strength to save our lives. To us, Hectare had died only a few weeks before. Not a thousand years in the past. Her image, and that of the incomparable Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, remained sharp in both our minds.
     Though the history books chronicled many details of Eleanor’s life, Sister Hectare’s story had disappeared into the mists of time.
     “So.” Phoebe sniffed and swiped at her eyes. “Is it broken, then?”
     I examined the head in my palm. The carved wooden features were blessedly intact. But the paint was scratched, and there was a bald patch on one side where the kitty had snacked on the brittle golden strands of real hair imbedded in the skull.
     “No,” I said. “I don’t think so.”
     I should have known better than to leave it lying right there on the bed, with full-on feline access.
     But I’d taken to sleeping with the doll. Stupid, I knew. Childish. Still, it was all I had left of that murky “time before.” And . . . the only thing I had left of him. Of Bran Cameron. The only physical evidence that we—​as a we—​had really existed. That what had happened between us was real.

Every morning when I woke, there were always a few sleepy seconds before it hit me. A hammer blow to the chest.
     Not one word in all this time. Not since he’d gone back. To her. To his mother, Celia Alvarez, the woman who’d trapped my mother in the past, then left us all there to die. And though she’d allowed Bran to return to the Timeslippers, I didn’t want to think what kind of torments she’d inflicted on him for his betrayal.
     “Oi.” Phoebe reached out and took my hand, squeezing hard enough to pull me back from the dark place. “He does love you, you know.”
     “Oh, really?” I jerked away and rubbed my bloodless fingers. “Then why not one word in all this time, huh? It’s been nearly two months. Two bloody months.”
     I scowled when her pointed nose crinkled and one side of her wide mouth curled up.
     “It’s just funny to hear you say ‘bloody.’” She grinned. “It’s all like . . . bluudee.”
     “Shut up.” I jabbed her with an elbow. But a reluctant smile began to tug at my lips.
     We sat in silence for moment. None of us had any idea what Celia was planning. Where or when she might decide to travel next. The only thing we knew for sure was that she would never give up, not until she found the Nonius Stone, the infamous opal she believed would allow her to better control the entity we knew as “the Dim.”
     This we could not allow.
     And the thing that knotted my stomach the most was that I knew Bran. He’d take crazy risks. To protect us. To protect me. And if Celia caught him thwarting her plans, adopted son or not . . . I had no doubt what she’d do.
     As if she’d read my mind yet again, Phoebe said, “He’s okay, you know. I mean, it’s Bran. If anyone can talk themselves out of a tough situation, it’s him.”
     I sat up straighter at that. “Well, that’s the truth. He does have a kind of knack for getting out of trouble, huh?”
     When Phoebe beamed that grin at me, the one that lit up an entire room, I couldn’t help but return it.
     “That’s my girl.”
     She gave my leg a pat and launched herself off the bed, clearing the steps in one acrobatic leap. Despite her petite size, my best friend was freakishly strong. I followed, easing down the steps in my own distinctly unathletic manner.
     “Gram can fix her, you know.” Phoebe plucked the doll’s head from my hand and stuck it in the pocket of her jammies. Cradling the battered torso in one hand, she said, “I’ll drop her off in the sewing room, then I’m for bed.” She gave a huge yawn. “It’s late and you could use some beauty sleep yourself. You look like something the dog dragged in.”
     “Thanks a lot,” I said. “But I think I might—”
     “To bed. No excuses,” she ordered, giving me her sternest—​no use arguing—​face.
     In that moment, she looked and sounded so much like Moira, I raised my hands in submission. “Okay, okay.”
     “Good girl.” At the doorway she turned. “Actually,” she mused, “think I’ll drop off our mangled friend here, then scoot downstairs and see if I can’t entice my Doug away from that damn computer of his. Lad’s been working around the clock, and it’s not good for his condition.”
     “Good luck,” I said. “But you’d better watch out. I swear he and that thing have something going on the side.”
     She gave a lewd wink. “Oh . . . I’m not worried. I’ve a few moves I doubt that blasted computer can match.”
     She sashayed out the door, hips swaying. I shook my head, grinning because I knew she was right. Our resident genius might be deep down his computer rabbit hole. But I’d seen Phoebe bring it before, and I had no doubt that in the end . . . she’d have him—​probably literally—​eating out of her hand.

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Sparks of Light 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
I was able to read Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor thanks to a goodreads giveaway of a hardback book and thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an arc! Sparks of light continues the story from Into the Dim, the first book in this series. Hope is with Phoebe and their other companions in the Scottish Highlands. Everyone is adjusting to the drastic change in Hope's mom and the baby she now has. Hope's boyfriend Bran has gotten away from his mother, Celia, to tell the companions about his mother's new plan. After Bran reveals Celia's plan, the Viators make a plan of their own - to travel back to 1895 and visit Nikola Tesla and his discovery. The trip to 1895 causes extreme circumstances for Doug and Hope when they are involuntarily taken to an asylum and treated with the new drug, heroin. Intense and interesting and on the edge-of-your-seat suspense! Hope describes the asylum and its residents in detail. She also reiterates her previous knowledge of asylum history. Morbidly fascinating and scary. As the comrades work to visit Tesla, they encounter atrocities and tragedy in this time traveling adventure worth 5 stars! I am, once again, anxiously awaiting a sequel! I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
3monstersmom More than 1 year ago
No sophomore slump here! SPARKS OF LIGHT is an intriguing and captivating sophomore book by Janet B. Taylor. In fact I enjoyed SPARKS OF LIGHT a slight more than I did INTO THE DIM. The story picks up quickly after where INTO THE DIM left off and has only the smallest bit of back information for new readers. This is definitely a situation where I would recommend readers taking the time to read the first book of the series, and it could even be beneficial for previous reads of the series to do a quick read through of INTO THE DIM again. I enjoy reading about Hope Walton, and found her to be an interesting protagonist. There have been negative comments made in other reviews about the protagonist feelings of jealousy towards certain other female characters in the book, but considering the age of our protagonist, Hope, and the situations where those emotions were felt, I thought they were appropriate and realistic responses/feelings. What bothered me was how little the side characters personalities and aspects were flushed out. Taylor has created these wonderful side characters in this band of time travelers that I feel were shafted out of page time. Hope spends several chapters out on her own, in mind you a wonderfully done and emotionally riveting environment, but this took away from her interactions with Bran, Phoebe, Doug, and Collum. All of those previously mentioned characters have these great stories and interactions with Hope. It was a shame we didn’t get to see more of that, especially those stolen, and delightfully tense, romantic moments between Bran and Hope. Kudos for the writing talent of Janet B. Taylor for making me long for those moments. I’m eagerly awaiting for Book 3 in this series.
NovelKnight More than 1 year ago
Why, oh why, did I think it was a good idea to read the sequel? I didn’t have a great experience with the first in the series, Into the Dim, but I had this hope that MAYBE the sequel would be better. It happens. Sometimes. This, however, wasn’t one of those times unfortunately. It’s been a while since I left a book unfinished. After the previous one, I didn’t have a high tolerance for any of the characters in Sparks of Light or a lack of story. Grace wasn’t a favorite of mine to begin with and my opinion only dropped lower this time around. She hasn’t changed, like at all. I don’t care if she’s a teenager, the way she acts towards other girls is pretty awful. She also comes off younger than her age and not in the good way (is there a good way with that?). Perhaps someone closer to her age would like Grace more than someone in their early twenties like me. Can’t say. The story moved far too slow to hook me which, with a protagonist on my blacklist, wasn’t a good sign. Taylor moves back and forth in time, alternating between past and present. Also, I recommend reading this right after Into the Dim because you’ll likely be lost otherwise. Sparks of Light had potential. The series has potential. But neither books reached it. I left this book unfinished about two-thirds of the way through and have no intentions of giving it another shot. Not a good one for me.
Lisa_Loves_Literature More than 1 year ago
This sequel to one of my favorite books of 2016, Into the Dim, definitely did not disappoint. This time the characters have a different time period that they will have to visit in order to solve their current issues. Hope's mother is back, but she is suffering basically PTSD from dealing with being left with the cruel man she'd been stuck with back in time. Not only is she back, but Hope has a new little sister. Her father is asking for a divorce, happy with his new wife. This makes one more emotional issue for Hope's mother to deal with. While Bran had to go be with the woman who had tried to say she was his mother up until now, their enemy, he comes back to see Hope when he can, but when he comes back, he has some alarming news, news that sends them on their next trip back in time. This time they will need to meet up with Nikola Tesla, and hopefully get him to stop working on the instrument that could mess up the careful time travel the Viators have tried to perpetrate. This time we have Doug going back, and he's never been able to go because of his seizures. But since he is best to work with Tesla, being the one who knows the most about what is going on, and kind of a Tesla expert, he is chosen to go, despite Phoebe's pleas about his safety. Of course the fact that he is partly black will cause issues in how he can be a part of the group back in the time period. It is after the civil war, but still things are not good for black, or even mixed race people like Doug. I liked that not only did we get a glimpse into a world with John Jacob Astor and the Vanderbilt's, a look at Nikola Tesla himself, but a dangerous glimpse into the world of the insane asylums of the time, women being committed by their husbands, the type of experimentation with lobotomies and other cruel procedures. This added an aspect to the overall story that wasn't expected, but definitely made for a very interesting twist. While they still also talked about the rules of not knowing about your past self/future self, as well as not changing any big events, like the fire that destroyed Tesla's lab, a very tragic death of someone in the team makes the rules seem like maybe they were made to be bent at the right times. Of course we're once again left without the villain being brought in, not to mention that there is now someone even more dangerous out there, working with, or around the villain from before. That means that there MUST be a third book. And I will be waiting on the edge of my seat to hear news for that one.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
After not enjoying Into the Dim as much as I thought I would, I was a bit nervous before starting this one. While Sparks of Light still had some faults, I ended up being glad I continued with the series. This sequel artfully dodges the second book trap, taking the characters on an entirely new fast-paced adventure that was interesting and well-researched. After the events of Into the Dim, Hope Walton has settled into her new home at her family’s estate in Scotland. Between her now rescued mother, her newly born little sister, and the other Viators, Hope finally has the family and friends she always dreamed about. Plus there’s a romance with Brandon Cameron, a figure from her past who she wants in her future. This fragile peace is shattered when Bran tells the Viator’s of Celia’s plan to obtain a device of Nikola Tesla’s that has the power to revolutionize traveling through the Dim. Hope and her friends rush off to Gilded Age New York in an attempt to reach Tesla before Celia and her cronies can. I thought that the plot of this book had much better pacing than the first book. I was engaged and interested throughout. There was a nice mix between action scenes and ones that let the characters shine. As before, the author had clearly done her research into the history and it showed in the general excellence of the descriptions and details. The storyline was much tighter in this one, not delving into quite as many subplots. However, there was one subplot in an asylum that seemed out of place to me. It definitely explored some interesting issues of the time but didn’t really do anything to advance the plot. Additionally, the time spent dedicated to it meant that the rest of the plot wasn’t quite as fully developed as I thought it could be. As much as I wanted to love the characters, I was never able to quite click with any of them. Phee, Collum, Doug, and Mac were included but didn’t seem to have major roles in the action until the end. Even when they did appear, they felt slightly flat to me and seemed like slightly different characters from who they were in the first book. I enjoyed seeing more of Hope and Bran’s past, it helped me understand their relationship in the present more. However, I couldn’t really feel the sparks between them and they barely spent any time together. The villains were honestly the most interesting characters for me but, even with them, I wished for more depth to their characters. I liked all of the characters but I wasn’t too emotionally invested in them. Sparks of Light is an improvement from Into the Dim. I still believe this series has a lot of potential and ended up enjoying most of this one. I love how Janet Taylor so vividly paints the past in this novel, I just wish the plot was a little tighter. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
terferj More than 1 year ago
*I like how descriptive it was. Especially when they traveled back in time. I almost felt like I was wearing the corset. I know now corsets=evil. Haha. I really like how the clothes are described. *I liked when she had her flashbacks. I especially liked when she was remembering when she was with her grandfather. Also with Bran. *Love Phoebe. Great friend for Hope. *Finding out who her grandfather was (I don’t remember if the last book mentioned it). *Like Hope’s photographic memory. Really comes in handy. *At first I didn’t understand why she went to the asylum but once things came out, like about the doctor that was running the place, I thought it was a nice twist into the plot. Side note: asylum’s back then are a scary place to can be sent in for any little thing. *The moments happening in the back half of the book (the reason they went back into the past because of Tesla’s device) was a little nerve wracking. So much happening at once. *Hope + Bran = cuteness. It was like they were meant to be. I didn’t like: *The story was slow moving. For me, it was when they traveled was when I started to enjoy it. *I hated the jealousy. Ugh. So yes, this has kisses, time traveling, escaping a mad doctor, rescues, flashbacks, death, betrayal, and a shocking moment to see a person that they thought they’d never see again. I’m definitely interested to see what happens next. **I received this through NetGalley
brittanysbookrambles More than 1 year ago
Sparks of Light—the darker and more serious sequel to Into the Dim—was simultaneously adventurous, calamitous, and tragic. This time around, the Viators are traveling to New York City during The Gilded Age, (which was somehow less fun than England in the Middle Ages. Imagine that? xD) and significantly more ominous. As with the first installment, I adored how Taylor intertwined real history into the plot. Her interpretation of real historical characters—as well as their backstories—was incredible. Janet B. Taylor bravely and fiercely tackles many of the societal hardships of the time in a heart-wrenching and realistic manner. Though I did miss some of the lighter and more romantic aspects that were in book one, following Hope on her journey to becoming a full member of the Viators was marvelous. Overall, this was a fantastic, somber, and tumultuous sequel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I only hope that there will be a happy ending for these wonderful characters in the conclusion to this trilogy.
SMParker More than 1 year ago
I was so, so happy to be back in the Scottish Highlands with Hope and her friends. Into the Dim taught me that I love time travel books so I was eagerly awaiting this sequel! This story begins only weeks after Into the Dim ended but so much has changed for the time traveling crew (no spoilers). Sparks of Light is a novel rich in lavish historical detail (some gruesome and some awe-inspiring). The author clearly did her research and I felt like I was with the young time travelers--The Viators—as they traveled to Victorian era New York. Some of the descriptions stopped me outright in my reading and I had to reread and reread just for their beauty, such as: "Outside, the Highlands were a riot of green and purple, yellow and white. And always, always the gray granite peaks of the mountains, gnarled and knowing and eternal, they watched over the pastures and townships below. The river foamed, dividing the valley." (quoted from uncorrected proof) I am so grateful I got a chance to read an early copy of this book (courtesy of the publisher) because I adored Into the Dim. Fans of Into the Dim will not be disappointed in the journey these teens must make or the treachery then need to overcome!! And there’s kissing! But mostly there is fierce loyalty among friends and I love that about both books!! Now I’d like a third book please, Janet B. Taylor!!
AsDreamsAreMade More than 1 year ago
This was solid sequel to Into the Dim.  I really enjoyed it. After learning about her true family history, Hope is settling in to her new life after the events of traveling back in time.  Although the road to recovery is far from easy.  When Hope and the other Viators learn of a plot to steal Tesla’s newest invention, they travel back to the Gilded Age of New York City to stop him.  Once they arrive however, they’re faced with true horror and betrayal they never thought possible.  Loyalties and morals are put to the test in this thrilling sequel. So I know a lot of people didn’t enjoy Into the Dim (which I disagree with), but I urge you to give it a shot because I’m really digging this series.  Albeit, I think the first installment was a bit better than the second, but this one really pulls out the stops in the emotional roller coaster department.  Whew. So this picks up not long after the events of Into the Dim.  We’re met with all our familiar friends–Collum, Phoebe, Bran, Mac, Moira.  The plot moved rather quickly, but it definitely through you for a loop at one point.  I won’t give any spoilers but there was a point in the plot where I was reading and just thinking, “This is truly horrific.  Only because it actually happened.”  I really like how Janet B. Taylor can translate historical events and make them relatable to the reader through her characters.  She definitely had me biting my nails. We see more of Hope’s true past through some flashbacks.  I really enjoyed those because it shed so much more light about Bran and their relationship.  I wouldn’t have minded some more! Although, I have a feeling we’ll probably be getting that in the next installment. I did have some issues with the ending.  I know there’s more to come, but it just felt a little unresolved.  It was almost as if you turn the page and thought, “That’s it?!” I don’t want to lead you astray.  There’s no cliff-hanger per se, but it just seemed a rather transitional ending.  Like, “That’s the end then? Oh, ok.” We are left with an idea of the direction they’re heading for the third book, which has been building since the first and I AM ALL THE EXCITED ABOUT IT. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, I highly suggest you do. Now.  It’s like Outlander…for teens.  Nothing wrong with that.  The plot moves rather quickly and the characters are entertaining to read.  Go ahead and immerse yourself in the past.  Lemme know how you find it.