#FridayFiveChallenge ~ Buy or Pass ~ Time’s Legacy by Barbara Erskine

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five Challenge, involves taking only five minutes to choose a book cover which appeals instantly. So take a few minutes, grab yourself a coffee…..and have a browse.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

A character in a recent read, which I enjoyed very much, was a druid and so I made that my search criteria for this week’s challenge. After several pages nothing stood out but just as I was about to try another search I saw this cover…


I love the colour, the white bird (heron?) I’m not sure of the significance. The author’s name was a draw too. I remember reading Barbara Erskine years ago and enjoying her books. This is a new title to me. The book description reads..

Ancient secrets buried deep in Glastonbury’s past.
And one woman’s quest to finally set them free.

Cambridge, present day: Following the death of her mother, Abi Rutherford receives a mysterious bequest – a misshapen crystal sphere known as the Serpent’s Stone, which gives her glimpses into mysteries long concealed by the church.

Western England, 25 AD: A stranger has come to the chilly Somerset wetlands, with a story of hope and reconciliation. But he is being followed by powerful forces, determined that he will not undermine Roman rule in Britain.

Abi questions what connects these ancient events and her gift. Why do so many people seem desperate to hide the truth?

A dark shadow has fallen across the centuries, and a woman is in fear for her life. But is it danger that awaits her, or the final truth so long whispered across the echoes of time?

The book was published in 2011 and the kindle edition is £4.99/$6.99. There are 230 reviews on Amazon UK with an average of 4.4* Amazon US shows 30 reviews, again with an average of 4.4*

The main complaints running through the lower ratings seem to be ‘variations on a theme’, the book is too long and the characters are shallow, as is evident in this review…I agree with another negative review on Amazon, where the reviewer comments that Erskine seems to be simply retelling the same story time after time, with new names for her characters. I would add that the characters in this book are also extremely one-dimensional. The central protagonist, Abi, simply doesn’t ring true as a vicar on any level and it was hard to empathise with her at all. Most importantly, the portrayal of Jesus himself, surely an opportunity to create a truly memorable character, is a dismal failure. Throughout the novel, I couldn’t help thinking this was a very good idea for a book, simply thrown away by rather lazy, sloppy writing. This is especially evident in the dialogue, which is almost unbearably wooden and stilted (whether this is the result of poor writing or poor editing, or a combination of the two, is hard to say).

Even though there are many more 5* reviews than otherwise, the points brought up in the above and other similar reviews made me stop and re-evaluate. The cover is great, the blurb certainly hooked me but…do I need to add another book I’m now not sure about to my already toppling to be read pile?

So, will I BUY or PASS? It’s a PASS for me this week. The critical reviews won out in the end.

If you’d like to enter next week’s challenge, and the more the merrier, check out Rosie’s blog to read about the Friday Five Challenge.

More Friday Five Challenge choices…

Rosie decided to give Steampunk a try

Shelley searched for Good Friday and found Dreams & Nightmares.

Liz chose the Colour of Poison

12 thoughts on “#FridayFiveChallenge ~ Buy or Pass ~ Time’s Legacy by Barbara Erskine

  1. Like you I’ve read this author in the past, I like the bird too, but think her books are very long, so with a few of the less favourable reviews influencing my decision it is a pass from me.

    Liked by 1 person

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