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A Symphony of Echoes

(The Chronicles of St Mary's #2)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  14,319 ratings  ·  1,261 reviews
Book Two in the madcap time-travel series based at the St Mary's Institute of Historical Research that seems to be everyone's cup of tea.

In the second book in the Chronicles of St Mary's series, Max and the team visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grock
Paperback, 235 pages
Published August 20th 2015 by Accent Press (first published October 22nd 2013)
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Lou I came here looking for this! I'm halfway through and totally lost. Good to know we do find out. I'll keep going!…moreI came here looking for this! I'm halfway through and totally lost. Good to know we do find out. I'll keep going!(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
George He had a terminal condition for which death could have been staved off by treatment that he refused. It happens--some people would rather just go than…moreHe had a terminal condition for which death could have been staved off by treatment that he refused. It happens--some people would rather just go than have doctors doing things for days, weeks, or month that only postpone the inevitable.

And I, for one, don't feel the least bit deprived by not knowing the medical terminology involved.(less)

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Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
*** 3.75 ***

A buddy read with the MacHalo Freaks! Let's go back in History!!!

"...“In this century, as in any other, men wore the comfortable, practical stuff, and the women wandered round expiring underneath over-decorated tea-cosies and with inadequate footwear.”..."

I enjoyed the book. Mostly, I love the quirky humor and wacky time jumps. I enjoy the writing style, but there is something missing. I wish I could put my finger on it, but I can't... Max is a very likable character, but somethi
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This second book still reads like an amazingly light-voiced opera of death, time-mystery, and casual sex... in other words, a great time-travel SF. :)

Seriously though, her treatment of cars makes me wonder if they'll wind up going the way of the Dodos. Minus the Cucumber Sandwiches. :)

I preferred this one a lot over the first book for once reason: It stayed in known-history for the majority of the book rather than with the dinos. I'm a sucker for historical mysteries and I'm even more of a suck
Richard Derus
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Book Two in the madcap time-travel series based at the St Mary's Institute of Historical Research that seems to be everyone's cup of tea.

In the second book in the Chronicles of St Mary's series, Max and the team visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, withess the murder of Archbishop Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches.

But they must also confront an enemy inten
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So after a good night's sleep and a big hot mug of tea (yeah, I prefer mugs to St. Mary's typical nice and flowery china), I have now sorted my thoughts. This second volume was very interesting and fast-paced again, the characters amicable as ever and the events laced with wonderful historical tidbits. However, it did not get me to care as much as the first.

The first volume was a rollercoaster that jerked me this way and that way and left me completely breathless. This second one? Not so much.

Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A Symphony of Echoes" is the sequel to "Just One Damned Thing After Another", the second book starring Madeleine Maxwell, aka Max. I liked the first book a lot (if you want, you can see my review) and so I wanted to read this second book as well. They are books that I would define as History-Fiction, rather than Science-Fiction, since the historians of St. Mary's have found a way to travel in time, to witness historical facts firsthand, as they really happened. These historians, all very eclect ...more
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ms. Taylor, I’d like to buy you a pint.

And please keep writing these stories and I’ll keep reading them.

The publisher uses the term “madcap” to describe these and I’ve never liked the term, seems akin to “zany” and whimsical and absurd and – just no.

Fast paced – yes.

Well written by a witty and engaging, talented writer – yes.

Featuring well researched and fun snippets of historical anecdotes and scenes – yes.

Madcap? Eh.

Following up on the heels of her 2013 debut to the series, Taylor describes th
Also fun for most of the proceedings. I liked the back 40% or so the best. It's sort of clear that partly the issue Taylor's plotting is kind of just happening as the story happens and things occur to her. Which makes everything feel fairly gloriously spontaneous, but also means she doesn't consider things until she does because she's distracted by some other shiny thing she's interested in at the moment and we've all already thought of the thing because we're not quite as distracted with her ob ...more
Robin (Bridge Four)
History is A Symphony of Echoes. Every little action has huge consequences.

This series is a little bit on the sporadic side. I’m quite a linear thinker and so jumping about in time can be a little discombobulating at times. To jump around from London in the days of Jack the Ripper to sometime in the future and then back to hang out with Mary Queen of Scots, well it seems so patched together sometimes.

I very much enjoy the time jumps and seeing different time periods and how much tro
Part of my 2020 Social Distancing Read-a-thon

Did anyone else notice that Max shoots a woman called Isabella Barclay (Isabella Bitchface Barclay to be exact) and that is a pseudonym of the author's? It amused me quite a bit. I really appreciate these books, as I understand the author's sense of humour, something that I sometimes struggle with. I do much better with audio versions of humour, it computes better for me in that form.

I loved the dodo hunt that occurs early in the book, although I have
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The second St. Mary’s book has a lot of what I loved from the first book - lots of skipping about through time, trying not to die in the process, with maverick historians. It’s almost like a good night out with your friends, but instead of going down the pub you’re nipping to 17th century Scotland.

As always, I love these characters. They are the heart and soul of the novels, the biggest ups and downs come from reading about their
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-travel
This series is very funny and often a literal riot! They are cleverly plotted and the world of St Mary's is well conceived. In fact for me, St Mary's is the main character. In fact I think I want to live and work there. It seems like a cross between Hogwarts, Mallory Towers, and barrack life circa WWII variety. You could even add Carry On films to the mix.
Very much enjoyed this. Looking forward to the next. This isn't the place to start with this series. Read the first one before attempting this
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
I didn't like this one half as much as the one before. It was just so disjointed and ... meh. It actually left me not really wanting to read book three.

The issues here are mostly the plot and all the filler stuff that happens for no reason. And there are some underlying world building problems.

It starts out good but after that, it really, really slows down. That first part seemed to mainly be one example of a later "problem" but it really didn't make sense. I actually forgot about that, which sh
After surviving numerous murder attempts, foiling a coup, and dropping T Rexes on her enemies' heads (literally), Max has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer at St.Mary's. Using time travel pods, she and her colleagues can actually visit the periods they study, making them the luckiest historians ever. Of course, they also have a much higher mortality rate than most historians...

The book begins with a truly creepy investigation into Jack the Ripper--I actually shuddered at my desk while re
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
3.5 stars. This was madcap fun as usual, but with a plot that I found a little too all over the place and an unsettling incident and attitude towards the end around sexual violence that prevented me from rounding up.
This was great fun, I absolutely loved it. The audio narration was fantastic too.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this St Mary's instalment as compellingly readable as 'One Damned Thing After Another'. And like that book, it also needs an editor's hand. Actually there are probably fewer of the sentence structure/punctuation issues in this one, but I sometimes had the feeling that I'd missed something - that something had been rushed or glossed over or not explained properly. There is also a sense of disjointedness about the plot. The first bit of plot concerns Jack the Ripper and this was far more c ...more
My complaint about Just One Damned Thing After Another was that there was very little real history in that one despite the time travel, is dispelled in this one. The crazy crew goes back in time to deal with a bad guy from the future and clarify one tiny issue: did Mary Stuart die or did Elizabeth I? To paraphrase Hans Solo, It’s a big deal. For once, the historians are aware they may have to change history.

So we get to meet the rather flirtatious Mary Stewart and her future date-rapist husband,
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This is book #2 in the series and it's just as bonkers as the first one, but equally just as amusing. We once more follow the St. Mary's organisation of Historians who travel through time to see 'what really happened?' Our main character is called Max, and she's one of the less conventional people in the organisation who always seems to be getting into trouble somehow. Her adventures are often risky, but rewarding, and this book is no exception.

The true British humour of this series really tickl
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This second in the series was not quite as good for me. I found myself being a little pickier and thinking it was chaotic at times. At one point I actually said "What just happened?"....out loud. I was getting annoyed with the main character Max. That being said, this is a fun series and no one told me to look for inaccuracies and the like. So why should I? That makes it not as fun! By the end, I was happy again and looking forward to the next one which I will definitely read! ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
More time travel shenanigans - 2nd in the series and I did enjoy it...


...but the novelty has worn off a bit and the 'romance' bit was extremely tiresome imo.

I'll have a break and then see if I want to carry on with the series - I'm very torn - it's 50/50 on things I love and things I don't like but I do like the concept and main character so maybe the odds will improve in next one?!?
Maria Dimitrova
Buddy read with the Wednesday Group of BB&B.

This had so much potential. If one can ignore the sporadic immaturity of some of the cast, especially when dealing with emotions, the story is a solid 4 star read. You get to enjoy different time periods and to experience history in a whole new way. In fact if JT abandons the romantic relationship between Max and Leon things will greatly improve.
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-the-stars
Hilarious. Smart. Action-packed. Highly recommended.
So far this series is just so much fun!
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read all my reviews on

I'm not a serial reader. I'm quite the opposite, even when I like books, I'm usually glad I can dive into another world next. However, having finished the first book in the St. Mary's series, Just One Damned Thing After The Other, I couldn't resist and immediately started the second book (and after that, the rest of the series).

The world is amazing. It is super British, very witty, filled with loads of tea and time-travel, or 'investig
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now that I have the characters established in my mind, I am feeling like the story is just mediocre. There are some good bits of dialogue and dropping in a reference to "The Big Bang Theory" characters had me smiling.
The issue I have is the protagonist's supposed intelligence. She has a doctorate! It comes through in her plots & schemes at times. At other times, I feel like Stephanie Plum has been plucked from Janet Evanovich.
I am hoping that the underlying theme and the fight against the antago
Max returns in the second book in the St Mary's Chronicles. This instalment begins with her confronting Jack the Ripper and it quickly moves on from there to rescuing the future St Mary's which has been taken over by villains, hunting dodos and returning to Elizabethan England to correct an error in history.

This series is great fun. It's not what I would describe as a disciplined narrative. The story chops around and wanders off in strange directions, but despite that...possibly because of that
Rachel (Kalanadi)
3.5 stars, enjoyed the craziness!
In this century, as in any other, men wore the comfortable, practical stuff, and the women wandered round expiring underneath over-decorated tea-cosies and with inadequate footwear.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
It has been a while since I have read any of the Chronicles of St Marys and I must admit I have missed them - I will admit that it does not help when you read the short stories which are dotted through the various ages and adventures of St Marys rather than reading them in order (never did things sensibly).

So here we have the further adventures - and although there are many books in the series (I still have some to get) you can see how the various tales are woven together - with events carry on
I think I have found my new listen-to-death series. More fun with the historians of St. Mary’s. Multiple villains - but our main one is untouchable due to time paradox reasons (don’t ask), thus remains at large and bent on meddling with the time line. He is stirring the pot this time in Mary Queen of Scotts’ court, which is one of my favorite messy time periods. Besides a visit to the Queen’s court, Max gets to save and be director of a future St. Mary’s branch, face her nemesis, and battle Jack ...more
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Jodi Taylor is, and always has been, a complete history nut. It takes vast amounts of chocolate to get her out of bed for anything after 1485. And if it's raining, there's no chance.

Habitually tongue-tied when asked to talk about herself, she gets round this by describing herself as tall, incredibly beautiful, witty and technically proficient.

The Chronicles of St Mary's -

Just One Damned Thing Aft

Other books in the series

The Chronicles of St Mary's (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #1)
  • A Second Chance (The Chronicles of St. Mary's, #3)
  • A Trail Through Time (The Chronicles of St. Mary's, #4)
  • No Time Like the Past (The Chronicles of St. Mary's, #5)
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #6)
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and History (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #7)
  • And the Rest is History (The Chronicles of St Mary’s, #8)
  • An Argumentation of Historians (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #9)
  • Hope for the Best (The Chronicles of St. Mary's, #10)
  • Plan for the Worst (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #11)

News & Interviews

Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
156 likes · 58 comments
“Dr Maxwell. Why are you wearing a red snake in my office?’ ‘Sorry, sir. Whose office should I be wearing it in?” 17 likes
“IT, that goes for you too. Any difficulties, tell me, so I can stare at you, baffled and confused.” 9 likes
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