Jacinda Harper just wants a vacation — a little time to spend with an old friend and her new baby. But a speeding car on a rain-slicked road crashes just ahead of her, and alters her life forever.
The last wish from the dying woman in the wrecked car sends Jaci to a lonely mansion, where she finds a mysterious grandfather clock, a cryptic diary, and a strange key... and magic...
Unwittingly transported into a fantastical world of ominous castles, wild forests, and rebel swordsmen — a world ruled by a ruthless sorcerer whose quest for world domination has long been thwarted by the loss of a magical key stolen from this world long ago — the key that Jaci has just brought back into his reach...
Jaci must find a way back to her own world before the sorcerer finds her.
Plot: MacLaughlin's plot is exciting, fast-paced, and full of surprises. As the novel progresses, it begins to resemble a more standard fantasy plot but nonetheless remains exhilarating and interesting to readers.
Prose: MacLaughlin's prose is clean, grounded, and connects readers emotionally with the text. The writing helps readers become invested in the universe MacLaughlin has created, and the forces of good and evil battling to control it.
Originality: From detailed maps of the fantasy world to the overall magical mystery, MacLaughlin's work possesses the charm of the work of Holly Black and Neil Gaiman, and the supernatural and whimsical elements evident in such worlds as C.S. Lewis's Narnia.
Character Development: While this fantasy novel reads like many others, it is nonetheless refreshing, emotionally relevant, and memorable.
Blurb: The Road Once Taken is titillating and terrifying, an enchanting novel that straddles the line between the fantasy and mystery genres.
Date Submitted: May 27, 2018