Author: Gwyn Cready
Page Count: 448 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: fantasy, time travel romance
Copy for review provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
50 words or less: What's better than a titillating historical story? Well, being able to see the events in real life. Too bad visiting the past has a tendency to go really wrong, as Campbell Stratford is about to learn the hard way...
True confession time: I don't normally read time travel novels. I like contemporary novels and I like historical novels, but rarely do they come together in a way that works for me. Flirting with Forever cheerfully grabbed those assumptions with a tissue and threw them in the garbage, and for that I am definitely grateful.
The writing style in this book is hilarious; there's truly no other way to describe it. I was reminded of Douglas Adams and Janet Evanovich (the first nine or so Stephanie Plum books, not the recent ones) in parts- Adams when the topic of conversation was time travel and the Guilds and Evanovich when the characters are interacting with one another. The dialogue sparkled right off the page.
Added to the mix: a cast of truly diverse characters and an unusual but entertaining setting. The art world is an excellent background for this story because enjoying art is kind of like time traveling- it launches you back (or forward) into a time, place, or environment based on imagery and ideas. Add in an actual artist from centuries ago wandering around the contemporary art world and there are plenty of opportunities for laughs and wry commentary. The plot here is full of twists and turns and machinations and plotting and scheming with the ultimate lesson being that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Just when I thought the happily-ever-after was just around the corner, someone would act in a way that had me yelling NOOOOOOOOOOOO because everything was screwed up!
The tricky thing with time travel books is that, at some point, there has to be an explanation of why things that are happening are affecting (or not affecting) the past, the future, and hell, the present. Flirting with Forever takes the Back to the Future II approach, which says that messing around with future events can impact the past, but furthermore, that the past can be controlled:
Peter and Campbell are an unlikely couple, to be sure, but I was definitely rooting for them (and for Anastasia and what'shisname, the adulterous fiance, to take long walks off short piers) and their relationship. Sweet, saucy, and very rambunctious. Good stuff all the way around.
There's a lot to love in this book, and I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to discover a new author in a genre that I haven't really explored.
Overall Grade: A
And now, because I can: