Review: A Tale Of Two Centuries (Rachel Harris)

Title: A Tale Of Two Centuries
Series: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1
Author: Rachel Harris
Published: August 6th 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Rating: 5/5

Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.

With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?

Okay, so I loved My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century and I always worry that a sequel isn't going to live up to the original, but seriously…WOW…this book was PERFECT! In fact I actually loved it more that the first. I know the characters better now and Alessandra as the narrator is so damn amazing that this was so much more than I could have asked for in a sequel! Plus there is Hot-Surfer-Boy Austin ;)

The story:
This story picks up right where MSSSC left off. Now in the 21st century it is Alessandra that is feeling out of her depth in a foreign time and country. But don't worry because her vibrant cousin Cat is there to help! Some of the social & language confusion that Less has in the 21st century had me snorting:

“Ah. That would be the ill-mannered coachman of my yellow horseless carriage…“Any chance you have a deer or goat lying about?”
A squiggle appears on Cat’s forehead. “Deer or goat?”
“Hmm, is that not right?” I ask, pulling on my ear. I was almost certain that was what he said. “He informed me the ride was twenty something—I thought he said bucks. Could it have been ducks?” I scrunch my nose. “Are waterfowl a popular currency in the twenty-first century?”
My cousin’s sudden boisterous laughter is my first clue that I have made a cultural error.

As Less settles into her gypsy time travelling adventure, she meets surfer & school bad boy, Austin and boy do the sparks fly! At first Less find him 'insufferable' and Austin thinks she's a boring goodie goodie. So Austin decides he needs to teach her how to loosen up and enjoy life more - the way does. He gives her challenges to complete, like learning to surf. She dyes her hair and buy some new clothes, all in the attempt to embrace 21st century life. But what I really loved is that Less also teaches Austin something about his own life. He's so focussed on trying to be a bad boy so he doesn't disappoint anyone, he doesn't realise that he's not living his life to it's full potential either. Together they realise that it's actually their differences that make them so alike. They both learn something valuable from each other & I love that!

The characters:
Alessandra is the girl who always does the right thing. Never wanting to disappoint anyone, she never considers what she wants from life, until now. I think Less is a great role model character for young girls - she learns along the way that being happy isn't about doing what is expected of you and also not just doing as you please. It's about finding a balance and not just being a spectator in your own life.

“Choice. True happiness is something we create ourselves with our own choices: whom we want to be with, whom we let into our worlds, and how we choose to spend what little time we are given in this world." - Alessandra

Austin comes across as your typical popular I-don't-give-a-damn-about-anything kinda guy, but we quickly realise this is all an act. He hasn't always been like this and there is a reason that he changed. It's Less who is able to pull back the layers and see the real Austin - and oh how I love him *sigh*. Sweet, kind and almost vulnerable at times - he is so yummy!

Cat & her new love interest Lucas were also great, Cat with her fabulous sarcasm and fierce personality were so refreshing. Lucas is such a little sweetie, he clearly likes Cat but is a little unsure how to capture her heart. Well he certainly captured mine and I hope he's featured more is the third book!!

The romance:
The relationship between Alessandra & Austin was so seriously sweet I was grinning like a kid on Christmas morning! When they finally admit their feelings for each other…gah…just thinking about it makes me feel all mushy! They have their sweet moments, their swoony moments & of course some funny ones too. But right towards the end I actually got a little teary wondering how it was all going to work out…but I'm not going to spoil it, so you'll just have to read it!

The Writing:
Writing a story set in the 21st century with a narrator from the 16th century sounds dangerous and destined for confusion. It shouldn't work, but it so totally does! In fact I think it's what makes this book so great! Less describing situations & words that are foreign to her were hilarious! Rachel's writing is so witty I found myself suddenly bursting out with the giggles - this book should come with a warning - "may induce spontaneous bursts of laughter". I got several looks when reading this on the way home from work on the train, as I snorted at my Kindle!

This story is so fun and exciting and super funny, but underneath all the laughter and jokes there are also some beautiful messages to be taken away. There is a real depth to this story, and it was so special to watch Austin & Less grow as individual characters and as a couple. They taught each other so much about living life and being happy - I actually took something away from this book too. This was simply an awesome book! I don't know how the next book, My Not So Super Sweet Life, can get any better than this, but I look forward to finding out!!!

Sexuality: mild / some kissing
Violence: none
Language: mild
Drugs & alcohol: medium / underage drinking at nightclub


  1. I loved it too! I'm glad I got the opportunity to review it because I probably wouldn't have picked up these books on my own. I'm not a big fan of time travel in general, but it really works for this series.

    1. Yay! Glad you enjoyed it too! I have to admit it's not the kind of book I normally read either, time travel can be a bit hit & miss for me. But this series is most definitely a hit! :D


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