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REVIEW: A Twist in Time by Susan Squires

vDear Ms. Squires:

Time travel romances aren’t for everyone. It often takes almost too huge of a leap of faith for some readers, in part, I think because it is partly grounded on reality. There are a lot of conveniences that a reader has to look past in order to enjoy the story. That said, I enjoy a fish out of water tale and this delivered in that respect.

Lucy Rossano is a rare book dealer who came into the possession of a book by Leonardo Da Vinci. She shows it to a friend of hers, Dr. Brad Steadman, who freaks out. A sketch inside the book reveals a machine that Steadman tells Lucy exists. Not only does it exist, but the book shows how to work the device which Lucy understands to be a time machine.

Dr. Steadman and a military man, Colonel Casey, agree that no one can be told of Lucy’s book or the machine itself but that someone must test it. Steadman and Casey both turn to Lucy who agrees. Somehow, she feels as if this is her destiny. But time machines are tricky things and somehow Lucy ends up back in the present time, only with a wounded Icelander on her hands, one Galen Valgarssen who lives in 912.

Lucy soon discovers that she is being chased down by Colonel Casey for her book and the time machine itself and she must take Galen and run. Fortunately for Lucy, her neighbor is a guy who has been squirreling away guns and money for just such an event. Even more conveniently, her neighbor has a boat with which Galen and Lucy can escape along with the weapons and money. The problem is that Lucy needs to get to the time machine to return Galen to his time but Casey and Steadman have the time machine.

In order to have any enjoyment with this book, one must swallow the conveniences, the contrivances, and the kitschy nature of the villains. Galen’s fish of water or Nord out of Iceland act is entertaining. He is used to being the strong one, the defender; yet in this strange world he “had no value. He did not speak as these people did. No one wore swords, not even Jake, who owned one, so Galen’s skill with one would not be valued.

Was this the way of a Danir warrior?

She obviously despised him for his weakness. Her tone was clearly ordering. She had actually threatened him with starvation if he didn’t take her hellish tablets.”

I really enjoyed the interaction with Lucy and Galen. Galen wanted to prove his worth to Lucy and one area that he was convinced he could show her he was superior was with his body. Lucy was attracted to Galen but also cognizant of her need to return him to his time, while also trying to hide his presence from outsiders.

I thought the time spent with Brad and Casey was less interesting, in part, because these two were almost comical in their evilness. Casey was already evil and power hungry and Lucy running off with some man made her enemy number one for Brad.

I always wonder at people’s quick acceptance of something so unfathomable but I guess the moral of the story is that love conquers all. This is a lighter book than other Squires’ novels such as Danegeld, relying more of the humorous aspects of the unfamiliar to drive the action. Because of all the early conveniences, it was hard for me to drum up any kind of suspenseful feeling toward the story. All would end well, it was just a matter of how.

Lucy and Galen were able to converse with one another in Latin (the language of the Christ Cult) and I felt like you had put forth great effort in making the language barrier very authentic although toward the middle, Galen picks up English fairly quickly.

If a reader doesn’t like time travel romances, this is not a book she would enjoy. Further, many of the issues of time travel are not addressed here such as what happens if you change one thing in the past such as removing Galen from 912 and placing him in the present time; whether there are parallel dimensions or whether time travel is just movement along one continuous space/time continuum. But as a character sketch, it’s entertaining and romantic. C+ because I ended the book curious about the others who will be affected by the machine and the book.

Best regards,

Jane

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This is a mass market published by St. Martin’s Press, a division of Macmillan. Macmillan is one of the Apple five. The digital price of the book matches the mass market price.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

9 Comments

  1. Jill Myles
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 14:51:49

    Okay, I have to admit that I am a sucker for medieval time travels. The hero coming forward (instead of the heroine moving backward) intrigues me. If I see this at the bookstore, I’ll grab it.

    I read somewhere that time travels were becoming popular again, but I have to admit that I don’t see many of them? Or am I just missing the ones that are coming out?

  2. Terhi
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 15:34:52

    It’s not that there’s time travel or comical villainry. Is it really too petty of me to get stuck on the name of the hero?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_name

    That’s in Wikipedia for Heaven’s sake!

    I know, I’m nitpicking, but it’s peeve.. Maybe it’s supposed to be an example of iron-age irregular spelling?

  3. eliz
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 15:38:18

    Jill – Have you read Gwyn Cready’s books? She’s really the only time-travel author I’ve branched out to try, but I like her wit.

  4. Jane
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 15:43:37

    @Terhi I paused at Galen too but having no knowledge of Nordic names, I skipped over it.

  5. Jill Myles
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 15:44:14

    @eliz

    You know, now that you mention it, I have one of hers in my TBR pile. Off to go hunt it down…

  6. Terhi
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 16:17:05

    @ Jane. Galen is pretty bad, though in Swedish it does mean “crazy” so for a Nordic warrior of that time and as a nickname – maybe. Icelanders follow the old Scandinavian way of no surnames, they’re -dottirs and -sons of their parents. So Galen here would be someones-son (here maybe Valgarsson, not -sen, though I’ve never heard of an Icelander caller Valgar either). But what’s in a name etc., right? ;)

    ETA google came up with this though :
    # Valgarður (male. Valgarður, Valgarð, Valgarði, Valgarðs)
    “val” meaning “choise”, “selection” or the (old nordic) noun “valur” meaning “the slain”, dead people on the battleground. “garður”, meaning wall, indicating to “protection”. So maybe it’ll do after all, with a little suspension of belief. ;)

  7. Preeti
    Apr 21, 2010 @ 06:06:35

    Susan Squires is an autobuy author for me. That said, I was bored by this story. I also felt it was bait-and-switch. (My fault because I buy without reading blurb, even.)

    All her last many books have been part of her vampire series, including ones using this time travel machine. But here, she melded two of her worlds, the vampire one and the Danegeld/Danelaw one. Bad news for me, because I’ve never been able to read her Dane books.

    Anyway… hope for something different next time.

  8. Lusty Reader
    Apr 21, 2010 @ 09:27:08

    im definitely a member of the “time travel romance” fan club but have recently been more frustrated with them for the plot holes and issues with suspension of disbelief you mentioned. all the old skool ones work better for me.

    HOWEVER i made a great find in a super random way which made it all the better. while browsing on amazon a “you might like” cover popped up. it was INTO THIN AIR by Cindy Miles and it was surprisingly good! even though it had ghosts, which i hate in my time travels, it still worked!

  9. Galen Karn fan
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 11:34:36

    She’s the all time best historial romance writer except for Jane Feather in my opinion. I have read several of her books. By including so much detail on the surroundings,the charaters backstories, the time periods speech/dress/customs/food/beliefs etc and insight into what they’re thinking you feel like you were there and know/care about people in it. It’s about the only way to visit certain times, places and states of mind. It’s interesting to see how romance was in other times in this age of technology, convenience, porn, ect.

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