Pages - 302
Publisher - Fiorenza Publishing
Published - February 27, 2014
Purchase - Amazon
Genre - Time Travel, Regency, Romance
Series - Book 1 of 4 in the House of Oak series
Sexual Content - 0/5
Language - irrelevant
Style - 3rd P/Omniscient
In 2012, Emme Wilde can’t find the right guy. She wants to feel that swept-off-your-feet dizziness of true love. But so far, her dating life has come up short. Star Trek geek? Nice but too serious. Hippy artist? Cute but too vulnerable. Instead, Emme obsesses over the portrait of an unknown man in an old locket. Granted, a seriously dreamy guy with delicious, wind-swept hair she just itches to run her fingers through. But still. Dead men may be great listeners, but they are not exactly boyfriend material. Emme travels to England, determined to uncover his history and conquer the strong connection she feels.
In 1812, James Knight has given up finding the right woman. All he wants is someone to share his love of adventure. Instead, his life has become a Shakespearean drama. His brother languishes in a tragic star-crossed romance. His beloved sister clings to life, slowly dying of consumption. But then he finds a beautiful mystery woman, dripping wet and half-dead, beneath a tree on his estate. Now if he can uncover her history, perhaps adventure—and romance—will find him at last.
Honestly, I couldn't WAIT to finish this story so I could review it here.
Sadly, I'm almost sorry I finally finished reading the story because, already, I miss heart-throb James and his delightful romance with Emry Wilde.
However, with three more novels in this series, I have more to look forward to in the coming months.
And yes, I've already purchased the other three novels and will let you know if they are stand-alone or not.
The Two Leads ~
Were believable, likable, and interesting.
The way James was described and how he behaved had me 'swooning' right alongside Emry Wilde, the lucky lady!
James came off as being natural, self-assured, and as eager for adventure as the author wanted me to believe.
He felt somewhat disconnected from his Regency life despite his affection for and responsibilities as the oldest Knight to his two younger siblings.
At the start, he's acting as a go-between for his younger brother, Arthur, and Arthur's sweetheart, the younger sister of an immovable Lord who continues to thwart the efforts of all involved in an inevitable matchmaking effort.
This is England, mid-May, 1812.
The very beginning of the story introduces us to Emry Wilde, or Emme as she is known to her family and friends.
She's 2012 in Washington State when she comes across an old chest at an antiques fair, opens it after feeling compelled to do so, and discovers a locket with a tiny but painted portrait of the most handsome man she's ever met.
Blue-eyed, wind-swept blond with a fetching smile.
Her friend, Jasmine, keeps insisting that Emme and this locket man are somehow connected, and over time, Emme can't help but to believe it must be true since she hasn't had any luck finding that certain someone who manages to sweep her off her feet the way Locket-Guy can.
So, she heads off to England to do some research (her career, by the way) and leases a small cottage in a fictitious town when a nasty, violent storm hits, terrifying Emme as much as it helps her to approach what will soon be her destiny.
Time Travel ~
Believable in its execution and possibility, but I had to wonder why the author chose an old Oak tree as opposed to a Willow.
But, that's just me and something I can use in one of my own stories.
The storm compels Emme to seek shelter in the basement of the cottage, where she sees on a wall the exact same inscription/design as is on her precious locket, so she approaches the design when flashing lights, a loud crack of thunder, and something hard striking her down occurs.
James is returning from his latest attempt to persuade Timothy, Viscount Linwood, to permit Arthur to officially court Linwood's sister when he comes across Emme unconscious near the shattered old Oak tree.
He also finds her purse and takes both it and Emme with him back to his manor.
The author felt somewhat apologetic about inserting 'amnesia' into the plot, but I had no problem with it.
Emme awakens to strange surroundings and not much in the way of memories aside from a very snarky, modern inner voice, and the sight of James peering at her with concern startles her breathless.
His sister, Georgiana, has discovered the locket and is mortified to think her oldest brother would carry on with a strange woman and not tell anyone.
James insists it isn't him in the portrait despite the uncanny resemblance and the fact that the sitter is also wearing a blue/green jacket he was recently fitted for but did not own yet.
Also, the inscription was to E from F, not J.
Now, Emme's father is British and with distant ties to the Duke of Cambridge, which explains her ability to speak fluent and flawless Brit.
Her studies help her to recognize and understand Regency lifestyle, too.
The Love Story ~
Compelling, and why I adored this story so much.
The author took the time to let the two leads get to know one another better and come to their own conclusions about their feelings and the tendency toward a lasting love.
Besides being gorgeous, James' personality and self-assured attitude worked in his favor for both Emme and me.
Emme didn't come off as bitchy, pushy, childish, self-absorbed, overblown tough, or self-appointed know-it-all the way a lot of modern-day women are portrayed in a lot of the Contemporary and Time-Travel romance novels I've read so far, so kudos for that!
She's as natural and believable as James, and the two complimented one another in more ways than one.
The startling fact that this novel had ZERO sexual content stunned as much as it delighted me.
Yes, I'd have liked to read at least a few lines about James' buff body and silky smooth skin, but it wasn't necessary because the author somehow managed to make me believe it was all there for the asking without telling or showing me it was real.
The Down Sides ~
My only real complaint has to do with this being a bit long-winded and with a bit too much day-to-day, hour-by-hour for my taste.
It took longer to read than I had wanted, but was compelling enough to be considered a true page-turner despite that minor drawback.
I wanted to know, HAD to know how it would all turn out for both the H and the h, and until I reached the end was never disappointed or bored along the way.
Also, there were type-o's here and there, and her insistence on the infinitive form of to not instead of not to ...to not be afraid vs. not to be afraid -- both of which are correct but for clarity, I prefer the latter.
The author seemed somewhat lax about injecting modern words/phrases into Regency England folk, but if you read her disclaimer AFTER the story, you'll understand why she chose to do it.
For the purpose of this blog, I deducted a half-star for those two counts but gave her a 5-star glowing review at Amazon.
Technically Speaking ~
Ms. Van helped me to not only see but understand POV as well as show v. tell, so I am forever grateful to her for that and cannot wait to read more of her work in order to learn and grow as a writer.
She seemed to vacillate between Omniscient and 3rd Person, and no, I didn't mind it one bit.
It never threw me off or confused me as to who was active in any one scene.
It was romantic; even somewhat poetic in its style and flow, so if you are a stickler for modern, contemporary, and dumbed-down, then I doubt you'll appreciate this work.
There were a lot of aside characters in this story but none ever managed to steal thunder or make themselves scarce after being introduced in the same way none seemed ineffective to the plot.
It is a shame the author chose to insert her Disclaimer at the end of the novel instead of at the beginning, because she would likely have received less negative reviews as a result.
Everything the negative reviewers complained about, the author had explained about in that Disclaimer at the end (which the negative reviewers obviously did not bother to read).
I strongly urge you to find that section and read it first in order to better understand and derive more joy from the story.
The author managed to make me interested in all of the characters and enough to make me purchase the subsequent stories in this series.
I'm curious, especially about Timothy Linwood (Refine, 4th in the series).
Once again, if you are not afraid to read Omniscient overtones in 3rd Person storytelling, like a fantastical, magic carpet ride that is Time Travel, and can tolerate more blow-by-blow than was necessary, I highly recommend you read this first novel in the series.