Time After Time
Usually when it comes to time travel books, I’m not too picky. My father, who is an omnivorous reader, can’t read time travel at all since the whole concept offends his sense of logic. I accept the premise and don’t worry how the characters travel in time, but once they do, if they act like Kelly Brennan in Time After Time, they are guaranteed to irritate me. She persisted in denying the fact that she had travelled in time long after any reasonable person would have accepted it.
The book begins with Kelly Brennan as the bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. She isn’t all that thrilled to have to wear a hideous green gown and be around a bunch of rich superficial people whom she doesn’t know. Besides, Kelly is still mourning the death of her beloved husband Michael who was killed by a robber ten years ago. When she has had enough of the reception she wanders over to a large live oak which seem to call her. Kelly goes through the oak and finds herself somewhere else.
Kelly is discovered by Lizzy, a little girl who thinks she has found a fairy. Lizzy doesn’t understand what Kelly is talking about when she asks for a telephone, so she takes her home to see Mammy Clara, who turns out to be an elderly Black woman. The house is lovely, but there is no running water, no electricity and no phone. Mammy Clara looks askance when Kelly talks about flying in an airplane. Kelly has come to the country home of Daniel Gilmore. Lizzy is his daughter and Mammy Clara is the housekeeper, a former slave who is now a paid servant. Daniel and Kelly are astonished to see each other. He looks like her dead husband and she resembles his dead wife.
Daniel is polite and welcoming. Kelly wonders why these people live in such an old-fashioned manner. She tells him of the future. He says it sounds like one of his favorite books, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward. During dinner than evening Kelly still wonders why he lives in such an old fashioned manner. When Daniel offers to accompany her to New Orleans to try and find passage home, she accepts and wonders why all those people on the boat look so old fashioned. It’s not until she reaches New Orleans and finds it looks nothing like it should that Kelly realizes she isn’t in the year 2001 anymore. “Finally,” I mutter under my breath.
Kelly is in despair wondering how or if she will ever get home when Daniel comes to her rescue again. His dead wife’s parents are coming from England to visit Lizzy, whom they have not seen, and he is worried that they will not like what they see. Daniel has ignored her and allowed her to run wild in his grief since his wife’s death and as a result, Lizzie is ill-bred and ill educated. He proposes a marriage of convenience. This will give Kelly a home and allow her to tame Lizzy so that the in-laws will not try and take her away.
Time After Time is very, very placid with hardly a ripple of conflict. Daniel believes Kelly is a time traveller with only a token murmer of protest and once Kelly realizes her fate, she doesn’t seem all that upset. When it comes to chemistry, there is precious little between them – their relationship flows like a gentle stream with only a slight ripple to mark the consumation.
Daniel was as shadowy a figure as I have encountered in quite some time. I have no idea what he looked like – not a good sign. As for Kelly, I had difficulty getting a handle on her. In the 21st century, she was a grief-stricken widow, immersed in her work, but once she hit New Orleans she turned into a suffragette. Odd, since she didn’t seem to be a politically active woman in her own time.
We have a customer where I work who reads time travel romances exclusively. I think she would love Time After Time. I read time travel romances too, but I am a little more picky than she is, and this book failed to interest me. I don’t demand lots and lots of conflict, but I want more than the pasty, bland relationship that is at the heart of this book.