A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Grey blends Greek mythology within a fable. Juliana Grey is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams. With this novel she has a different publisher, a different style, and a different genre.
The author commented, “As Juliana I used to write books that were mainly historical romance where I could not mess around with certain elements readers wanted. With this book I tried to move in a different direction, within a Victorian time period. I wrote about all the elements that intrigued me and put them in the story to have a little fun. On the other hand, the Beatriz books have the main character taking center stage. Those fictional novels are set in a historical period, post World War I, with drama, friendship, adventure, and some love story with possibly more relatable characters.”
Unlike her books as Beatriz Williams, this book is more plot driven than character driven. The story begins when the Duchess of Olympia insists that the personal secretary of the recently deceased Duke travels to find his apparent heir, Arthur Maximillian Haywood. The secretary, Miss Emmeline Rose Truelove, steams through the Mediterranean on a private yacht accompanied by Duke Silverton, a corrupt London bachelor. As they travel from port to port they piece together Haywood’s whereabouts, finding him on the Island of Crete. Truelove gets help from the ghostly characters of her father and Queen Victoria who appear to be figments of her imagination. The ending of the story sets the readers up for future time travel and possibly more supernatural elements.
The theme, according to Gray, can people change the path set for them? “Is there a future in which we are locked into? Even if we know it is going to happen is it possible to break out of this destiny? I am hoping to solve this existential mystery with glimpses coming from the present day of the story, as the Duke uses his power to send people through time.”
At the end of each chapter she incorporated the fantasy of the Greek myths, which became more a sub plot. The stories of Ariadne, Theseus, and Minotaur are something the characters try to relate to. This includes how “Theseus would then go forth from his nuptial chamber to kill the Hippolytus, whose only crime was to worship the chaste Artemis instead of the vengeful Aphrodite.”
Unlike her books as author Beatriz Williams, Juliana Gray has this as the first book in the series. Readers who like this quirky storyline will be able to continue this time travel with the characters in future books.