Friday, August 27, 2010

Somewhere My Love


I recently had the privilege to review a book for Romancing-The-Book.com and I felt that it had enough historical romancey goodness to include here at Historical Romance Book Reviews...

Beth Trissel's debut is a riveting blend of romance and intrigue with light paranormal tones that grab hold of you on page one and won’t let you go.

Somewhere My Love introduces us to Julia Morrow, an English girl on summer break, who has arranged to work as a tour guide at Foxleigh, a historical home situated along the James River in Virginia. During her introductory tour, Julia learns that Foxleigh has been home to the Wentworth family for eight generations and is now managed by William Wentworth. But Julia is stunned to see that William bears a striking resemblance to an old portrait of Cole Wentworth, a handsome man pictured in his late twenties. Drawn to the portrait of Cole, Julia is overwhelmed by feelings that she somehow knows Will, even Cole… but can’t explain it.

There’s definitely something about Julia, and Will wonders if the decision to have her work and live at the house for the summer was a mistake. Not only does she boggle his mind with her innocent charm, but her inexplicable admiration for Cole truly makes him wonder if she’s cuckoo for cocoa puffs. After all, Cole’s been dead two hundred years. But when Julia’s dreams become vivid and Will starts recalling memories that place him in Cole’s shoes—err, boots—so many years ago, comparing notes may help them discover the truth of what really happened on the fateful night of Cole’s death. But could it be that the events that happened so long ago may foretell events still yet to come? And is it possible that a love from the past could get a second chance to live in the present?

Somewhere My Love weaves a beautiful historical romance with a contemporary story creating a mystery with a pleasant dash of the paranormal. Catch all that? Sure to please readers of all those genres, fans of the Regency period will enjoy the little details of Colonial Virginia when Julia and Will’s recollections take them to the turn of the nineteenth century. And as everyone at Foxleigh prepares for the annual Midsummer’s Eve Ball, scenes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet come to life at the hand of Will’s eccentric grandmother, lovingly referred to as the Queen Mother.

A colorful supporting cast of characters helps bring these stories (past and present) to life, and though there is no quiz at the end, keeping track of all the players can become a bit of memory game, especially when they take on the added roles from Hamlet. In addition, I found all the rehearsal scenes to be a tad overkill, eating up a big chunk of the second half of the book when I would have preferred a more tightly wrapped up ending. Unfortunately, the reader is left with a few unanswered questions even with the added bonus of a very short, but sweet, epilogue.

While this fast-paced story was complex with many layers of twists and turns, I did find the writing style to be overly-simplistic and lacking. It is rather unfortunate for a story with such a strong plot and steady flow to be weakened by this, but for a debut novel there is the hope that the author’s writing will mature into something that doesn’t feel plucked from a shelf of teen fiction. I also shake my fist at Ms. Trissel’s editor for not knowing that Jane Austen’s name isn’t spelled like Austin, Texas.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy this story overall and recommend this book as a pleasant read. And for anyone wary or new to paranormal stories, I would encourage you to give Somewhere My Love a try as a light introduction to the genre. This book is the first in Ms. Trissel’s Somewhere series.

My rating:  6 - It was a pleasant read

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