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  • Writer's pictureBriony Rose Smith

The Chronicles of St Mary's A must read series!

So I wanted to talk about some books I've read/listened to but not reviewed because I love them and they deserve it.

The Chronicles of St Mary's is an amazing series of books by Jodie Taylor that chronicles the misadventures of the disaster magnets at St Mary's Institute of Historical Research. At St Mary's they investigate major historical events in contemporary time, so time travel, but don't let the head honcho hear you call it that. "This isn't some science fiction," he says so it's not time travel but it's totally time travel.

It follows a woman called Max, a short ginger ball of insanity blessed by the god of historians to have somehow survived 8 books and 11 side stories, despite dinosaurs, sandstorms, volcanos and history's best efforts (maybe 12 but I haven't read the latest one yet and am pretty sure she's not going to be in it...maybe...there is always time travel).

What are the characters like? Characters in this series are great. I'm always a bit jealous of how witty and funny they all are. St Marys has a full a vibrant cast from the insanity of Max and her fellow historians that don't have much regard for their own life when they see history going down. The slightly more suicidal R+D department that tries to figure out how things are done in history, usually with explosive results. The security department which is arguably the sanest (Markam is their main point against this) as they have to keep everyone from killing themselves. The technical department, the IT department, the wardrobe department. The list goes on of all the parts that make St Mary's run and they all (well except for IT 😞 ) have wonderful characters showcasing them.

The story? Jodie weaves a great story into these books, managing to keep it interesting despite visiting times and events that have already happened. In most books we get to visit a few placed across time and I've learned quite a lot about different historical events from them. The main story revolves around the struggle against a rogue time traveller bent on revenge which might sound simple but the characters and books have so much heart. Max, living the hectic, totally not sci-fi, life goes through some crazy things but you always feel the closest to her when she is going through something human. Relationship anxiety, loss and issues from childhood. Despite these books making me laugh for the most part, there are times I'm struggling not to cry when listening on the bus. I must honestly look like a mad woman if anyone was paying attention to my facial expression.

Any downsides? Very few. With 8 books I can say not all of them are strong. There was one that just felt like they were just side stories rather than a whole book and some of the side stories themselves are pretty important for the series. I feel like if I hadn't listen to them there would be a few plot points that would have confused me.

Recommendation? Read it all. Read all the books and all the sides stories and I grantee you won't regret it. St Mary's will deliver characters to love, stories to get lost in and a bit of history on the way. It's a great series.

p.s I've already given book one as presents to my brother and my friend and want to give it to everyone!


Normally here I'd put a link to another blog post but honestly I don't have anything quite like St Mary's to link to so here's a link to a writing prompt challenge instead!

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