REVIEW: Daring Time by Beth Kery
Dear Ms. Kery:
I was pleasantly surprised at your book, Wicked Burn, which was released last fall by Berkley. Erotic romance is difficult to pull off but yours had a good plot, character development and smoking hot love scenes which made me excited for your next release. While Daring Time is well written and has interesting characters, it read like an homage to Chicago. At times, I felt the love story involved the city and its history than one between a man and a woman.
Ryan Daire is given a gorgeous mansion from an old friend and mentor, Alistair Franklin. The reason behind Franklin’s gift isn’t well articulated until the end of the story and it was hard to believe that Franklin would gift the mansion to Ryan. But the house sets up the entire story so Ryan has to have some reason to have it. Something about the house speaks to Ryan and one night he spends the night there and is visited by a ghostly apparition. After an aborted attempt to copulate with the ephemeral being, Ryan begins to realize that he isn’t going crazy exactly but that the woman he keeps seeing in his home is actually a person who lived in the early 1900s. He finds a book of hers and writes his name and information, including the date in the margin.
The ghost though is actually flesh and blood Hope Stillwater and through the energy produced by their sexual attraction the two can crossover the space/time continuum. Hope lives in 1906 Chicago with her wealthy father who heads up the Purity Foundation, a group devoted to saving young women from the white slavers. Hope and her father work to shut down brothels and save as many soiled doves as possible. Their arch nemesis, Diamond Jack Fletcher, is intent on stifling the Stillwater voices by whatever means possible.
Hope finds the inscription by Ryan on the page of her favorite sonnet and begins to believe her erotic dreams are something more. (mirror sex is all I can say here). Ryan recognizes that Hope is in danger and finds a way to enter her time. Ryan introduces Hope to the physical pleasures of life while also trying to crush Diamond Jack before he can kill Hope and trap Ryan in the past. When Ryan figures out the key to the time travel, he and Hope are able to move back and forth in time but the spirits of the past follow them everywhere.
For the squeamish, I feel compelled to mention that
During the time travel, we are treated to a lot of historical discourse about the city including important landmarks, Chicago World’s Fair, Field Museum, Sears Tower, Navy Pier, etc. etc. as the two compared the 1906 Chicago versus the present time Chicago.
I confess that as I was reading it, I wasn’t so taken aback by the ridiculousness of the plot set up as I am now summarizing the book for the review. It reads more naturally than it sounds, but there are a lot of problems with the time travel that are never addressed.
All the decisions in Ryan’s life have set the stage for the climactic encounter between him, Jim Donahue, and Ryan’s love life. Problem is that predestiny/fate v. chance is never an issue explored even though the implications of such are there. In other words, the time travel was just a device used to provide a vehicle for the plot rather than providing a philosophical, theological or even scientific foundation for the arc of the story.
The concept here is that souls live forever. Problematically is the question of where is Daire’s soul and Hope’s soul and why they are able to travel through time and others are not. Apparently their sexual mojo can create rifts in the space/time continuum. That’s some kind of true love. However, for all my criticisms, I recognize that erotic romance is very difficult to write and the spicy sex scenes definitely advanced the plot and seemed integrated into the story not apart from it. C
This book can be purchased in trade from an independent bookstore or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.