Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: January 5, 2016
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she's inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she's never heard of. Until now. Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he's known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can't escape and the family that won't let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas' passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not. Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods' grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.
Passenger is full of danger, deceit, and complication. It's a journey through time and space, a search for something important wanted by those with greatly different plans.
Etta is ready to take her place on the international stage, to show the world her talent as a violinist, but she's being held back. By her instructor, by the awkward relationship she has with her mother. Through bizarre circumstance, she finds herself on a ship in the 18th century. She finds her mother has been keeping a number of secrets from her. She finds herself a victim of someone else's plots and plans. But she has a plan of her own.
Nicholas is working hard to run, to forget, to move ahead. To prove to the world he is more than the colour of his skin while he himself struggles with that fact. To prove to the Ironwoods that he isn't their servant, their mistake, the he won't stand for being under their thumb. But he can't escape the one regret in his past the haunts him every single day. Like Etta, he has a plan, but in some ways those plans differ.
The time travel aspect appeals to me. There are rules and consequences, there are certain paths to follow. It isn't an anywhere or anytime kind of situation, which was exciting to find. Consequences make time travel interesting. It means you have to remember things, places and time periods, or you could ruin everything. It's very likely that they could ruin everything. Etta and Nicholas aren't the only people searching, aren't the only ones with plans. Aren't the only ones driven by determination, jealousy, or pride.
This is a very dense book, full of description, dread, despair, and discovery. Both Etta and Nicholas spend a great deal of time pondering the past, their future. Their fate. I was intrigued by Etta's passionate nature, her desire to search and save those lose to her, her rather obvious hatred of being manipulated by the Ironwoods. She's got some fire in her, that's for sure. And there are moments when she stops and realizes that her way of thinking, the 21st century way, isn't how it works in past centuries. Moments when she feels ashamed for not realizing how different customs in different time periods would feel for Nicholas. As the time travel and the adventure interested me more, I'm curious to see where, when, the story will go next.
(I received an e-galley of this title from Disney Book Group through NetGalley.)