What if one could meet a famous fictional historical romance hero in your real life, take him on a tour of your home grounds and then go back in time with him to live within the pages of his story while maybe finding a little romance of your own on the side? Yes, please! Where do I sign up?
This was a delightful ‘What If’ Time Travel Romance that allowed a Regency Era Scholar to encounter the hero of her favorite English Literature classic in her present day when he comes to her for help to fix the mess of things he made in his love life. It was like a travelogue of sorts to present day Baltimore (which now I want to visit after reading about all its fun places) and to Regency England. More than that, the heroine gets to be an observer of a Jane Austen story playing out right before her eyes as she encounters her own chance at love if she can conquer the fears of having her heart broken enough to take it. It’s a gentle, slow-paced story and can be pedantic at times if one isn’t interested in the details of early nineteenth century life- which I was so this wasn’t a problem for me.
Now, the story is about modern day, Christine O’Malley, getting the chance of a life-time to live in her favorite novel. Large bits of the novel, Pride and Prejudice, are told along the way. The story probably works better for those who are already familiar with the original story, but I think even those who are unfamiliar with Austen’s classic would still get by just fine.
In summary, the story begins when Chris O’Malley is giving a lecture at a conference which is interrupted by a man she assumes is a Fitzwilliam Darcy impersonator. He tells her that he is not an actor and is there to see her because she was recommended as the one who could help him with a specific dilemma. He claims to be a time-traveler and the real Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pride and Prejudice fame. Chris is skeptical at first, but as she spends time with William and hears his story, she becomes a cautious believer. She gives him the advice he needs to rectify the mess he made of his love life and thinks that she has seen the last of him.
But William screwed it up again and he’s back. This time, he wants more than advice. William wants Chris to be on hand to coach him through his courtship of the fair Elizabeth. Chris decides to go for it after establishing that she can easily use the time machine to return to her own time. Thus begins Chris’ adventure of a modern gal visiting Regency England. The issues she encounters are humorous and its fun as she engages with familiar characters from the book. Things get interesting when she encounters a man who stirs her attraction for the first time since her fiance died and left her inconsolable, but its a doomed affair since he’s from the past and she must return to the future. Or is it doomed?
I was mildly interested in this light read that delighted without pushing my emotions too much right up until the point when Chris left the sidelines as an observer and became part of the story. I really liked her as a heroine. She’s no-nonsense and strong, but she has a sense of humor and really cares for her friends. She is still grieving her loss and it was this that held her back along with her problem that any love interest from the past would be left behind when she went home. Typical time travel plot and one of my favorite scenarios.
The story is rich in historical authenticity which was like a character in its own right because it was so in the forefront and not just backdrop. It was interesting to see the social and cultural clashes that took place with the modern heroine and the historical secondary characters around her. But regardless of the culture, human nature stayed the same when Chris encountered people behaving in ways that she understood all too well.
The surrounding characters were nicely written and interesting too. There were colorful characters in the present with the people at Tony’s Pizza and William’s friend the cab driver along with the scientist who operated the machine, but I confess the ones who had more of my attention were the characters from the past. The scenes with Chris and William and Chris and Georgiana were sweet. I loved that friendship. I laughed when she encountered the Regency’s ‘Mean Girls’, the Bingley sisters. But I was tickled to death to know that she was to meet my favorite P&P character, Col. Fitzwilliam. I loved the nod to the author’s engaging original character from several of her past books, Antony Fitzwilliam, who made a cameo in a sense when Col. Fitzwilliam tells Chris about his rogue of a brother. I had such a good time with the characters and outside Chris and Col. Fitz; I was especially taken with young Georgiana. I would love to see her get her own story- maybe with the fun Kevin who she met in the future? Hint Hint!
All in all, I had a good time with this one. It’s not going to reach out and grab you or drain you emotionally, but its perfect for an easy fireside read on a lazy afternoon. Those who enjoy their time travel romance on the sweeter side and those who love Austenesque stories should definitely pick this one up.