From the very first sentence of The Puzzle Ring, I was hooked. For nearly four hundred pages, I was drawn into the magic words and world woven by Kate Forsyth.
The Puzzle Ring begins with Hannah discovering a letter addressed to the Viscountess of Wintersloe Castle, her mother, whom has hidden this part of her identity, and therefore Hannah's identity and family, from her since the disappearance of Hannah's father shortly after her birth not quite thirteen years ago. From here, I was whirled away from Australia and over to Scotland, to Loch Lomond and Wintersloe Castle, and a curse that has held her family captive in shackles for the past four hundred and forty years.
Once in Scotland, Hannah befriends Max, Donovan and Scarlett, and together the four friends begin the quest to rescue Hannah's father and alleviate her family of the curse. This journey takes them back to the time of Mary Queen of Scots, of witches and of superstitions, of disease and lack of amenities that they are used to. Their quest: to recover three of the four missing pieces of the puzzle ring still unaccounted for and reunite them.
Greeted by Angus, and a young fairy, Linnet, Hannah and her friends traverse the four corners of Scotland to locate the rings and return home. But this quest is not without its difficulties of disease, and obstacles to find the missing pieces. They find themselves in the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, on the evening of the death of her second husband, Lord Darnley. The story of Mary, Queen of Scots and her ultimate fate is linked with the quest to find the puzzle ring and return home.
Throughout the book, Hannah discovers she has the ability to use magic via a hag stone given to her by a toad before leaving Fairknowe and Wintersloe. The Puzzle Ring is not only a historical fiction novel but a time slip novel, and a novel filled with Scottish folk and fairy lore, and superstition. I felt at home in Hannah's Scotland. I did not want this book to end: I wanted it to go on forever and I will be revisiting it again and again.