An Echo in Time
It’s a bad sign when I can put a book down and not pick it up again for five whole days, especially if I start looking at my TBR longingly, and the book I’m reviewing starts to resemble a dreaded homework assignment. Unfortunately that is how An Echo in Time felt for me. I just could not get into the story.
The story opens with a gunfight in the old west and our hero, Sam Evans, trying to help save the neighboring ranch whose owner, Olivia, has fallen in love with a time traveler from the future. At a key point in the battle, Sam sees a time warp open up to take back the traveler. Sam knows that Olivia would be devastated, so he steps into the warp and wakes up in 21st-century Montana with nothing more than the clothes on his back and a loaded rifle, which quickly gets him into trouble with the local law. Arrested for assaulting an officer (Sam doesn’t take kindly to being frisked), Sam finds himself sitting in the local jail run by a very pretty sheriff.
Taylor O’Brien doesn’t need this right now. She’s in the middle of an election and her opponent is starting rumors that have led to her son fighting at school in his mother’s defense. A prisoner claiming to be from 19th-century Colorado and turning the town into a media circus is the last thing she needs. So she cuts Sam loose, only to find him bunking down with her father. Taylor is sure Sam is playing a hoax to ruin her campaign, and is taking advantage of her elderly father and impressionable son. But eventually she is won over by Sam’s old-fashioned charm. Now if she can just keep him out of trouble before he ruins all chance of her being re-elected.
Sam and Taylor are likable people. Because Sam knew someone from the future, he believes those in the future would know about time travel. And so it makes sense that he would believe Taylor would accept his being from the past. Taylor is reasonable in her disbelief and once she has proof about where Sam is from she changes her tune accordingly. Unfortunately, as likable and plausible as Sam and Taylor were, they were also boring, and the misunderstandings caused by Sam’s time travel are at first amusing but soon become increasingly repetitive.
Sometimes when I don’t like the leads, the secondary characters save the story. Not here. Taylor’s father Charlie is too gullible to be believed. He accepts Sam’s tale of time travel without question, and immediately starts playing matchmaker. Taylor’s son Cody goes from being a kid with reasonable requests about his absentee father to someone who is apathetic about the situation without explanation. The townsfolk range from caricatures of corrupt politicians to ignorant small town hicks. Only Taylor and her family are portrayed as having any intelligence.
The message that as long as you tell the truth everything will turn out all right seemed incredibly naïve, especially as the heroine is supposed to be a politician. When Taylor gets the chance to show her competition for the hypocrite he is and takes the high road instead, I found the moralistic tone of the story too sappy for me to take.
The book really isn’t bad, but it’s uninteresting and too simplistic for a contemporary. It may have worked better had it been set in the past. Also, it’s hard to enjoy if one hasn’t read it’s prequel – Whispers Through Time. The hero and heroine of that book are mentioned constantly, but we’re never given enough detail to allow this book to stand on its own. However, if you’re looking for a short read about a Mayberry-type place where doing the right thing always pays, you might enjoy this story more than I did.