Time for Eternity
Frankie Suchet, a bartender living in modern day New York, has a serious grudge against Henri Foucault: In 1794 he turned her into a vampire and she hates it. So, when she gets the chance to travel back in time to kill him before he turns her into a blood-sucking monster, she grabs it with open arms. But when Frankie encounters her former self, Francoise, their eyes meet, quantum physics collapses, and Frankie disappears.
It’s 1794, and during the turmoil of the Terror Francoise is taken into the Duc d’Avignon’s household. She has watched the wicked duc, Henri Foucault, from afar, and is attracted to him. But where does he go all the time? And how can they survive the Terror? Most importantly, who is this strangely accented voice that keeps urging Francoise to kill him?
That voice of course is Frankie, who (and let’s call a spade a spade) possesses Francoise and whom I found frankly annoying. I understand that the simplest way to distinguish between characters of different eras is to vary the speech pattern, but really – “Bingo?” “We do what we can.” Inserting “girlfriend” into every other sentence? The last time I spoke like that was in eighth grade. As a character device belonging to a 200-year old vampire of French origins, it’s irritating and cheap.
But it is interesting to watch Frankie and Francoise develop as characters. They are complete antitheses, although the cynical, sarcastic Frankie began as the naive, subdued Francoise. Frankie assumed that Henri turned her into a vampire then abandoned her, but the truth is that he was caught ferrying revolutionary prisoners out of France and had his head chopped off. Francoise discovers the heroic and gentler side that Frankie never saw and it’s nice to see Frankie mellow out and Francoise acquire some of Frankie’s spunk. That being said, I still think of them as separate people and the final heroine seems neither-twixt-nor-‘tween, leaving an unfinished quality to an otherwise solid character story.
As for Henri, he gets seriously shafted due to the stronger presence of the heroines. His one attempt at marriage was a tragedy and turned him off innocents forever, and he makes up for his self-perceived shortcomings by playing hero during every major world conflict. But Henri gets kind of boring yearning after Francoise and denying himself, and is a disappointingly flat contrast to the heroine’s fuller character.
However, this story does have some major advantages. One, Frankie-Francoise takes time travel seriously and do try to make the space-time continuum thing work out, even if they recognize the intrinsic contradictions of time travel. As a result, I bought into it, which is rare. Two, while Ms. Squire’s vampire lore isn’t particularly original, it is logical and never detracts from the story and characters, making this book stand well on its own. And finally, I loved the setting and, despite some minor errors (and I’m being mega-picky), the author succeeds in immersing the reader in a complex time period. Vive la France. Yahoo.
So even if Henri is rather dull, he’s an okay hero and, even if I can’t decide how many heroines we have, they show quality character development. And the setting and time traveling, miraculously enough, are primo examples in our genre. So I’ll recommend Time for Eternity. You could do far, far worse.