And now for something completely different, as the members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus would undoubtedly say. And of which I suspect this next author might approve.


I don’t know how you feel about historical fantasy. You know — time-travel. Well, I suppose a novelist can write whatever they please, and if people are willing to follow you off that cliff (as another historical-fantasy writer once said)… I know I harbour a shameful, secret desire to be a time-tourist, which is probably how I got tangled up with historical fiction in the first place.

So it was deliciously satisfying to discover The Chronicles of St Mary’s, by Jodi Taylor. There are—how many?—fourteen books in this series, beginning with Just One Damned Thing After the Other. 

photo of Jodi Taylor's book Just One Damned Thing After Another

These books are a romp, and they are laugh-out-loud funny, but also poignant enough at moments to have made me cry. Jodi Taylor often looks at history through an irreverent eye, but she’s very thorough, and she never makes light of tragedy—of which there has been plenty during humankind’s sojourn on this planet. Taylor doesn’t dwell on it, though. She gives it its due and then moves on, sometimes with a scene that will make you laugh through tears.

Set in a (sort-of) modern day Britain, the institution of St Mary’s sends historians through time to observe important historic events. They’re there to document, and there are very strict rules about interfering in the timeline. Of course, stuff happens… and there are repercussions… which usually carry over into the next volume… and require copious amounts of chocolate and margaritas to address…


This series is as binge-worthy (maybe more!) than anything you might find tonight on Netflix! I just wish they’d gone to Trafalgar…



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