Love Once and Forever
Love Once & Forever is the uninteresting tale of a woman who travels back 500,000 years in time to the lost civilization of Atlantis. It features a slow-moving plot, boring main characters, purple prose galore, and a hard-to believe premise that is completely full of holes. There are a couple of intriguing secondary characters, but that’s about all it has going for it.
Laura Morrison has just broken up with her fiance on a New Jersey beach, when she discovers a peculiar object lying in the sand. When she holds the egg-shaped object to the light, she is transported back half a million years through time, and picked up by strange beings in a spaceship. She soon finds out that her captors are human, and once they implant a translator device in her head, she can understand them. They take her to their civilization, which they call Issa. Laura decides it is the lost civilization of Atlantis.
The Kheressians, the people who inhabit Issa, have brought Laura and three others back through time because they need help. An asteroid is heading for earth, and the impact is sure to destroy their civilization and make earth uninhabitable for centuries. Laura and the others are pressed into service, helping to find ways to escape the coming doom. Meanwhile, Laura is falling for Kentir, the handsome and masculine Kheressian who leads the project. She knows Kentir returns her feelings. But can their love survive in a world about to end?
There were a lot of problems with this scenario, and many of them had to do with the far-fetched nature of the setting. In some ways it is like science fiction, in that the Kheressians have advanced technolgies that we don’t possess. For example, the time travel device is supposedly scientific, not magical. But it is much more fiction than science. The timeline poses several problems. Though hominid species were around 500,000 years ago, they were definitely primitive. But Speer makes it clear that the Issans have evolved themselves, and then that the human species evolved again after the asteroid hit. There wouldn’t have been time for this to happen. In the book it was also clear that the asteroid that threatens Issa is destined to become the moon. Yet Laura sees no problem with the Kheressian plan to destroy the asteroid. Wouldn’t that disrupt the whole space-time continuum, as well as future life on planet Earth? Also strange was the whole idea of kidnaping people from the future to help solve the asteroid problem. Why would these people help, and how could the captors be sure that they would know anything? And once they brought people back, they clearly knew that life on the planet was destined to continue. It seemed like they should have abandoned the whole project at that point.
If you are willing to accept the Issa/Atlantis premise at face value, there are still problems. The whole book moves at a very slow pace. Over a third of the book goes by before Laura and the others are told why they have been kidnaped. Up until that point, they are on a spaceship, and every time they ask what is going on, they are informed that things will be explained later. I couldn’t see any point for keeping the time travelers in the dark, other than perhaps to keep the reader in suspense.
The first half of the book is also lacking in the romance department. Kentir treats Laura like dirt at first, because he wants to keep her from falling in love with him. Once he gives up the fight, the reader is bombarded with purple prose-laden sex scenes, one of which contains this gem: “She mounted him as if he were the finest thoroughbred stallion.”
And there were many others problems, far too numerous to mention. Was there anything worthwhile in this book? Well, there were two interesting secondary characters. One was Hua Te, a time traveler from ancient China, and the other was Imlica, one of the Kheressians. Unfortunately, the book wasn’t really about them. Unless you are completely taken with the idea of Atlantis, I would advise skipping this one. With its far-fetched premise, slow pace, and annoying characters, it is much better left on the bookstore shelf.