Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.
I hadn't known what to expect from the story. Reading the synopsis, when I saw the words time and travel, I was slightly worried. I was wondered if it would still meet my expectations of reading a genuine and original read. Well guess what? It blew my mind to the point where I was so glad that there was time travel, all due to the fun Talents that the characters had. I especially enjoyed Tamsin's sister, Rowena's, Talent. She can get people to do whatever she wants just by talking to them (I wouldn't mind having it). I loved the way Carolyn MacCullough set up the relationships between the characters. I could understand the love/hate relationship that Tamsin and her older sister, Rowena, shared and I found it easy to believe the distant relationships that Tamsin had with the rest of her family due to her having no Talents at all. I would pout and want to hug Tamsin whenever she brought up how her Grandmother and her were never close, or how she felt like her Mother thought of her as a big disappointment because her Grandmother's prediction was wrong. All through the story I was constantly wondering if Tamsin's Grandmother really was wrong about Tamsin being the most powerful witch they would know and all that jazz. From what all the characters said about her Grandmother, I highly doubted that she was wrong. Is she, is she not? You get to find out in the novel.
As for the time travel part of the story, I still couldn't wrap my mind around the concept, though I found it strange how Tamsin and Gabriel could interact with the people from the past and not affect their future. Although it was explained that small bits of the future would be affected, I still found it strange how they could interact with their past relatives and have them hardly notice them in the future. It's something that MacCullough put in the novel that I believe will be the most memorable part, and I hope it's discussed in the sequel, Always a Witch. Since I brought up Gabriel, I'm proud to say that he could be my new character boyfriend. I'm already accepting the fact that he's a lot funnier than Patch, so who knows? Gabriel was my favorite character in the novel. He was easy to imagine (I kinda saw him like a human version of Flynn from Disney's Tangled, don't know why). He had a lot of funny comments to make in the story and such a witty personality, plus his Talent is finding lost things which adds into the time travel part of the story. And not to mention that I wanted him and Tamsin together more than anything.
What wasn't to love? Time travel, great characters, Talents, family secrets being uncovered and a villain who I found both creepy and has motives that equal to Tamsin's, but differ at the same time. I would recommend this to anybody who wants to read a supernatural novel without any of the cliché happenings. A main character who stands apart from all the other YA characters I've read and an unexpected twist that you won't see coming.