Category Archives: Paranormal Romance

6 paranormal and gothic romances

6 Gothic & Paranormal Romances That Will Haunt You

Halloween Romance Reading Recommendations

It’s that scary time of year again…Halloween! That means gothic and paranormal romances!

A little bit of spookiness, a little bit of romance, and a whole lot of adventure—what more could you ask for on Halloween?

We’re preparing for one of our favorite holidays by buying and reading some books to get us into that creepy spirit. We’ve got you covered with our list of the best horrific romances to read this All Hallows’ Eve. Here are six frightening gothic and paranormal romances we think you’ll appreciate, too. Most are available on Amazon Kindle, and links are provided below.

1. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, 1936

Our Thoughts

This classic Gothic romance is one of the most popular novels in history and was influenced heavily by Jane Eyre. It spawned a ghost-written sequel, Mrs. De Winter, released in 1993. We’ve also seen the1940 Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine film.

A young, unnamed woman marries an older man and moves into his estate, Manderly, with him. Their relationship is rocky from the start and only worsens when she discovers that he had a previous wife named Rebecca, who died under mysterious circumstances. She then finds herself haunted by his late wife’s spirit.

The book explores themes of fear, insecurity, female powerlessness, and the strength of romantic love. If you haven’t read this classic yet, you’re in for a treat. Rebecca stands the test of time as one of the best Gothic novels ever written.

The Blurb

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”

Ancient, beautiful Manderley, between the rose garden and the sea, is the county’s showpiece. Rebecca made it so – even a year after her death, Rebecca’s influence still rules there. How can Maxim de Winter’s shy new bride ever fill her place or escape her vital shadow?

A shadow that grows longer and darker as the brief summer fades, until, in a moment of climatic revelations, it threatens to eclipse Manderley and its inhabitants completely.

REBECCA by DAPHNE DU MAURIER

The Covers

2. Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt, 1960

Our Thoughts

A young governess moves into an old house and discovers that there is something very strange about her new home. She is drawn into a web of mystery and terror when she realizes that there are hidden secrets within its walls. All the while, she fights her attraction to her widowed employer.

This has all the twists and turns you’d expect from a Gothic novel but also has an element of suspense that keeps you on your toes. Set in 16th-century Cornwall, this tells the story of a young lady who falls in love with a mysterious man who enchants her with his dark presence.

The Blurb

Mount Mellyn stood as proud and magnificent as she had envisioned…But what bout its master–Connan TreMellyn? Was Martha Leigh’s new employer as romantic as his name sounded?  As she approached the sprawling mansion towering above the cliffs of Cornwall, an odd chill of apprehension overcame her.

TreMellyn’s young daugher, Alvean, proved as spoiled and difficult as the three governesses before Martha had discovered.  But it was the girl’s father whose cool, arrogant demeanor unleashed unfimiliar sensations and turmoil–even as whispers of past tragedy and present danger begin to insinuate themselves into Martha’s life.

Powerless against her growing desire for the enigmatic Connan, she is drawn deeper into family secrets–as passion overpowers reason, sending her head and heart spinning.  But though evil lurks in the shadows, so does love–and the freedom to find a golden promise forever…

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt

The Covers

3. The Turquoise Mask Phyllis A. Whitney, 1964

Our Thoughts

If you’re looking for something more “modern,” this book is right up your alley! The Turquoise Mask by Phyllis A. Whitney features a lonely woman who heads to New Mexico to visit her extended family in an attempt to solve the puzzle of her mother’s mysterious death.

A tragic tale of a long-dead Spanish ancestor who was murdered for having an affair holds the key to the mystery.

The heroine finds herself entangled with her cousin’s enigmatic husband, who may be more than what he seems. What does he want from her? Her life…or death?

The Blurb

Something hidden deep in her memory was the key to Amanda Austin’s past. She did not know it was also the key to her future. After her father died, she decided to learn the truth of her mother and family in New Mexico.

But from the moment she arrived at her grandfather’s home, she was met with suspicion. And hate. They were her family, but they were strangers. And one of them was a murderer….

THE TURQUOISE MASK by PHYLLIS A. WHITNEY

The Covers

4. Her Demon Lover by Janet Louise Roberts, 1973

Out Thoughts

Her Demon Lover by Janet Louise Roberts is another excellent choice for those looking for something spooky this Halloween season.

It takes us to central Europe and a dark castle where a married woman cannot resist the allure of a man who possesses the ability to control forces of nature…and even her.

This hard-to-find book is a great example of how to write an atmospheric and enticing story that will keep you up reading all night long.

The Blurb

A lover’s tryst inspired by dark powers –

Leaving her timid husband behind in the dining room, Sophia and Count Vlhos climbed to the castle tower. Outside a violent storm was raging through the Balkan mountains. Urging Sophia to leave her husband and live with him in the castle, the count demonstrated his powers over bats, birds, and the raging storm.

Then he persuaded Sophia to try her own powers, summoning up demonic spirits to assist her. Thrilled with her new-found ability to dominate the elements, Sophia accepted the potion offered her. Soon she found herself stripped of all inhibitions, alone in the tower with a strong-willed, fiercely passionate man…

HER DEMON LOVER by JANET LOUISE ROBERTS

The Covers

5. The Bledding Sorrow by Marilyn Harris, 1976

Our Thoughts

When you’re looking for an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will keep you up all night, look no further than The Bledding Sorrow by Marilyn Harris. Harris’ writing is compelling beyond belief.

This classic Gothic romance will make even the strongest stomach turn with its gruesome details. A woman accompanies her new husband to his family estate, where horror awaits.

It’s not exactly a happy ending, but it’s definitely an interesting one.

The Blurb

As the new bride of Geoffrey Bledding – and mistress of his magnificent Yorkshire estate – Ann hoped at last to fulfill her wildest dreams of happiness.

But as the walls of Bledding’s manor closed behind her, she was forced instead ro re-enact a cruel destiny ordained in centuries long dead by two who loved in its shadow.

And now- trapped in the madness of her husband’s cruelty, tortured by the inhuman cries and warnings of an ancestral nightmare – Ann dared to seek escape. She would love James, the handsome stranger, though his outstretched hand might lead her through an agonizing horror – and beyond!

THE BLEDDING SORROW by MARILYN HARRIS

The Covers

6. The Winter Bride by Carola Salisbury, 1978

Our Thoughts

We’re familiar with author Carola Salisbury through her pseudonym Janette Seymour, author of the Purity Series and other bodice rippers. Salisbury/Seymour is actually the late British comic writer John Michael Butterworth. As Salisbury wrote, he wrote some Gothic romances, and this one is a doozy!

All the standard elements are here: the rocky Cornish coast, a foreboding castle, and a hero who hides a sinister secret that could mean the heroine’s doom.

The Winter Bride is an excellent example of how to write a modern gothic piece without pandering too much to popular tropes or clichés.

The Blurb

Lovely Charity Carew had nothing but awe and reverence for the distinguished poet Martin Revesby. Boldly she wrote him of her admiration, and when he offered her a job as secretary, her delight knew no bounds. Nevertheless, a sense of foreboding shadowed her arrival at Malmaynes, the eerie castle on the grim Cornish coast. Something evil, she was sure, watched and waited. The surly caretaker, perhaps? Or the sinister deaf-mute? Something or someone aroused in her a feeling of danger.

Only her growing love for the poet held her safe as she learned the bloodstained legend of “The Beast,” a creature long dead who, it was said, refused to die. Suddenly, without warning, the dark tale of violence sprang to life anew, claiming fresh victims, and a chasm of terror stood between Charity and the promise of happiness that had been just within her grasp a short while before. A chasm she could not hope to cross — and live… 

THE WINTER BRIDE by CAROLA SALISBURY

The Covers

Your Opinion

Have you heard or read of these gothic romances? What did you think of them or the author? What are your recommendations for scary romances for Halloween?

As always, please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.

nancy gideon midnight

Paranormal Romance Review: Midnight Kiss by Nancy Gideon

paranormal romance
Midnight Kiss by Nancy Gideon
Rating: three-half-stars
Published: 1994
Illustrator: Richard Newton
Book Series: Midnight Vampire #1
Published by: Pinnacle
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance, Paranormal Romance, Vampire Romance
Pages: 398
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Paranormal Romance Review: Midnight Kiss by Nancy Gideon

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Midnight Kiss by Nancy Gideon is a vampire romance from way back in 1994.

Nancy Gideon is an author I’m familiar with only through her identity as Dana Ransom. As Dana Ransom, Gideon has written some of my favorite historical romances.

Although I’ve read a few vampire romances, I’ve never been a sucker for them, so this Halloween I decided to bite my teeth into Gideon’s Midnight Kiss. (The puns are awful, aren’t they?)

The Characters and the Setup

Set in Regency Era England, Midnight Kiss begins with man prowling the dark London streets. This man is no man, however; he is an immortal–a vampire named Louis.

Marquis Louis Radman is desperate to find a cure for his preternatural malady. He has spent one hundred thousand nights wandering through the cities of Europe for sustenance, cursed as one of the–surprisingly many–undead who exists by drinking human blood.

Like vampires of legend, he cannot die a natural death. A stake through the heart or sunlight can destroy him. Nor can Louis tolerate the touch of a crucifix or the smell of garlic.

Driven mad by his doomed eternal state, he seeks the help of Stuart Howland, an English physician who specializes in bloodborne illnesses. Dr. Howland attempts to cure Louis of his vampiric disease by experimenting with blood transfusions.

Meanwhile, Louis is drawn to the doctor’s lovely assistant, his daughter, Arabella–the OG Bella of vampire romances.

The Plot

Arabella is a clever and capable young miss who didn’t fair well in her only London Season due to her outspoken personality. Although she doesn’t fully comprehend the nature of Louis’ illness, she is drawn to the dark, mysterious man who can only be seen at night.

Louis is enchanted by Arabella and vows if he can live as a mortal, he will make her his bride.

Another man has eyes for Arabella, and his fiendish attempts to make her his will draw a horrific danger close to home.

At last, when the treatments seem to work, Louis and Arabella marry. Inexorably drawn to Louis, Arabella has no idea what evil lurks ahead. The pair have a passionate start to their relationship, believing a bright future lies on the horizon.

Recall that Louis is not the only vampire who walks the earth. He shares a turbulent connection with a several who will seek him out and try to take the life of his innocent human bride.

When the truth of her husband’s nature is unveiled, will Arabella be horrified by his monstrosity? Or will she become drawn to him even more?

The Conclusion: Spoilers ⚠

Louis cannot escape his past, as he is a being trapped in time. The vampire who created him is obsessed with him and hunts him down. Death awaits.

By the end, Louis and Bella vanquish some of his enemies, while others survive for another day.

Husband and wife leave England to flee to Vienna. Arabella is pregnant with Louis’ child, and a world of possibilities lies before them.

However…

SPOILER WARNING

Arabella’s father dies before he can find a cure for Louis’ vampirism, so Louis is doomed to remain undead. Arabella remains mortal and will die of old age.

In following sequels, after Arabella’s death, Louis finds love with several other mortal women.

Thus breaking the HEA rule of romance!

For that reason, I don’t think I’ll be finishing the series. Knowing this also affects my perspective on this book, and reduces my enjoyment factor. YMMV, but I’m a stickler for for the rules.

Final Analysis of Midnight Kiss

I wish I had read Midnight Kiss when it came out in 1994. At 16 years old, that would have around the end of my vampire-craze phase. The 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula & 1994’s Interview With the Vampire, along with Anne Rice’s Vampire series (up to Tales of the Body Thief–oh, Lestat, how I loved you!), the Dark Shadows TV reboot, and a life-long adoration for Christopher Lee led to my passion for blood drinkers.

Alas, I no longer hold vampires in the same romantic light I did back then. The angsty themes of eternal suffering while existing as a human-but-not-human once fascinated me. It’s all a bit too emo for me, now.

Still, I found Midnight Kiss to be engaging, if a bit overwrought. I’m not certain if Nancy Gideon was the first author to pen a full-length vampire romance. Undoubtedly, she was one of the firsts. So I commend Gideon for trying something innovative and fresh–as this was thirty years ago.

Nevertheless, I know there are better vampire romances the genre has to offer.

Midnight Kiss was the first in a long-running series. I’d rate Midnight Kiss 3.5 stars if I view it as a standalone. Since I’m not continuing the series, I’ll keep that rating.

3.5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3.5
Characters
3.5
Writing
4
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
3.5
Cover
3
Overall: 3.6

Synopsis

WHITE ROSES
They were a gift from her handsome new suitor. After a wretched Season in London, Arabella Howland was ripe for a real romance. But she soon discovered that the Marquis Louis Radman was no ordinary bachelor…

SCARLET SECRETS
A mysterious blood malady had brought Louis to Arabella’s father. The celebrated Dr. Howland was his last hope–the only man alive who could break the spell that had tormented the nobleman for the past three centuries…

DARK DESIRES
But Arabella saw only a man–a tender, irresistibly seductive stranger whose burning touch sent her own blood racing. Yet even as she donned a wedding dress and vowed to love Louis forever, the past was reaching out to claim him, calling him back to a place of eternal lust and longing–and forcing Arabella to choose between her sunlit world and the dark ecstasy of a…Midnight Kiss

MIDNIGHT KISS by NANCY GIDEON
And Gold Was Ours duillo

Historical Romance Review: And Gold Was Ours by Rebecca Brandewyne

Synopsis:

In faraway Spain Aurora’s fortune was foretold –the exile from the home of her aristocratic ancestors, the journey to the steaming jungles of Peru, and at last, the love of a fiery dark man.

Now on a plantation haunted by a tale of lost love and hidden gold, the raven-tressed beauty awaits the swordsman and warrior she has seen in her dreams. Will he come-and protect her from the enemies that seek to destroy her? Will he love her with the promised passion-wilder than the tropic storms and brighter than the most precious treasure?

AND GOLD WAS OURS by REBECCA BRANDEWYNE

Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book and the Setup

And Gold Was Ours is a sequel to Rebecca Brandewyne‘s Love, Cherish Me. However, I’d consider this more of a companion piece. The hero, Esteban, is the cousin to Wolf (Lobo), the male protagonist from Love Cherish, Me. Wolf’s story takes place in Texas, USA. Esteban’s begins in Spain and ends in Peru. While both novels have Brandewyne’s hallmark baroque-gothic atmosphere, And Gold Was Ours is not as dark and emotional as its predecessor.

What this romance does have are swashbuckling intrigue and a unique setting. It also employs a supernatural element.

Our story begins in Spain, sometime in the mid-19th century, under the reign of Isabel II. The book opens with a swordfight between Esteban and his evil stepfather. Although Esteban has right on his side, after he kills his stepfather, his wicked stepbrother vows revenge. So Esteban is forced to leave everything behind and flee to the New World.

Aurora Leila, also in Spain, has a fortune teller foresee her future. She is told that she’ll have to leave her home for faraway lands. There, she will find a love that has awaited her for eternity. While Aurora scoffs at the seer, the woman is correct. Some misadventures with a lusty nun occur while Aurora is in a convent. Like Esteban, Aurora must leave her birthplace behind. She travels thousands of miles away to Peru.

The Plot

It takes some time for the love story to begin, as Brandewyne puts the players into their starting places.

When Esteban and Aurora meet in South America, it’s as if they’ve known each other for all time. A bond exists between them, which seems to have existed since time primordial. Theirs is a fated love, one passionate and thrilling.

There are villains aplenty and crazy adventures along the way as they fall in love in the jungles of Peru. Danger lurks as enemies compete for land. A search for legendary ancient treasure leads to mortal peril.

Midway through the book, Esteban and Aurora take a side trip to Texas. They share happy moments with Storm, Lobo, and their son, Chance. If you’ve read Love Cherish Me, this part hits hard in the feels. This was a brief halcyon period for Storm and Lobo before tragedy struck.

Then it’s back to Peru for Esteban and Aurora, who must overcome scheming antagonists.

And unfortunately, we encounter Esteban’s 180-degree heel-turn. He starts out as a dashing, romantic character and then, out of nowhere, turns into a jealous stalker. It was out of place and made Esteban less likable.

Meanwhile, Aurora has visions of the two of them in times past. She sees images from ancient Egypt to Viking lands and other eras long ago when she and Esteban had loved each other. Through forces of fate, they were forever being separated.

Is their love doomed to fail in this time and place as well?

and gold was ours
And Gold Was Ours, Leisure/ Dorchester reissue, 1999, Lina Levy cover art

Final Analysis of And Gold Was Ours

I didn’t particularly appreciate Esteban’s personality transplant, how became an insecure stalker mid-way through. There was no reason for him to mistrust Aurora, who was totally devoted to him.

While I enjoyed And Gold Was Ours as it had its adventurous moments, it pales compared to Love Cherish, Me. That book was far grander in scope and emotional depth.

I didn’t expect the paranormal elements, although they added a unique twist to the plot. The prose is at times overwrought and very florid, typical of Brandewyne’s style. The love scenes are euphemistically erotic.

And Gold Was Ours started a little slow-paced and gets too wordy in certain sections. It was not one of my favorites by Rebecca Brandewyne, but it’s not the worst book by any means.

File this under the “I enjoyed it very much but didn’t love it” category. Esteban’s misplaced jealousy aside, for the most part, it was a compelling read.

3.63 stars

when lightning strikes

Historical Romance Review: When Lightning Strikes by Kristin Hannah

MILD SPOILERS 😉

1 Star

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Kristin Hannah is a successful author of women’s fiction. It’s fortunate she found success in that genre because her romances I’ve encountered are–sad to say–lacking in excitement. When Lightning Strikes is a time travel romance that starts promisingly but takes a boring turn into snoozeville with its drawn-out plot. This should have been a category-length romance of 190 pages, not 400 pages long!

The Plot

The setup of When Lightning Strikes is rather intriguing. Alaina Costanza is a single mother and a romance writer living in the present day. Or whenever Geraldo Rivera had a daytime talk show, so maybe “modern era’ would be more appropriate. Our main character is a writer who has no life but her daughter. Now that her daughter is away at a summer camp, she’s got nothing to do but pop pills and drink herself silly.

Rather a dark setup, but appropriate for this emotionally overwrought book.

One night while typing at her computer, lightning strikes and ZAP! Alaina wakes up in totally new surroundings. She’s traveled back in time, not to the real Old West, but inside her own romance novel!

So if she’s in her created world, where is the hero? It turns out he’s an utter douchebag. In actuality, it’s the villain of Alaina’s book who’s the hero of this one.

The entirety of When Lightning Strikes is Alaina getting kidnapped by the bad guy known only as Killian. They spend their time trying to outrun the “hero” who’s out to kill him. Alaina simply wants to get back home to her daughter. Still, she has a connection to Killian and finds herself fighting her feelings for him.

Fate has thrown them together for a reason. This would be fine if the book didn’t go on forever and ever blathering about what soul mates here were. There’s even a cliched magic woman of color who somehow has mystical insights into the heroine’s destiny and her relationship with Killian.

The narrative dies down in favor of navel-gazing and droning on about how Killian and Alaina are meant to be for chapters on end.

Will Killian meet his end at the hands of the hero? Will Alaina stay in the past with Killian or finally go home to be with her daughter? I didn’t care. But it all ends as happily as one can imagine.

Final Analysis of When Lightning Strikes

This could have been a decent book. Rather than being action-based and romance-based, it was bogged down by internal angst. Chapters went by where literally nothing happened.

It was a chore to finish. I’m sure Hannah has created better books than this. But–sorry to say–I never want to experience another romance as mind-numbing as When Lightning Strikes again.

falling angel

Category Romance Review: Falling Angel by Anne Stuart

Falling Angel, Anne Stuart, Harlequin, 1993, Cover Artist TBD

American Romance #513

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

3 1/2 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Anne Stuart’s Falling Angel is yet another paranormal from the American Romance line. This is a holiday-themed romance that begins on Thanksgiving and culminates in a Christmas miracle.

Plot

Emerson Wyatt MacVey had lived only for the love of money. He was a corporate raider who thought nothing about ruining lives and impoverishing people, much less breaking women’s hearts—especially the heart of Carrie Alexander from the small town of Angel Falls, Minnesota. But living a life of depravity took its toll upon the blond, handsome Emerson, and he died of a heart attack at the young age of thirty-two.

Our story begins at the Pearly Gates, where the angels above try to decide how to judge Emerson. Instead of sending him to hell, where he will surely suffer torments for all eternity, he is given a second chance. He is allowed to return to Earth in a new form: the black-haired Gabriel Falcone on Thanksgiving Day. His job is to help people and undo the damage that Emerson had wrought. He has until Christmas to get things right.

Gabriel arrives in Angel Falls in a pickup truck and quickly finds himself trapped in a snowbank. Looking for help, he comes upon the home of Carrie Alexander, the very woman whose heart he’d broken as Emerson. She’s having Thanksgiving dinner with friends and invites the stranger in to join them. Carrie introduces “Gabriel” to her friends. Gabriel must learn to help the folks he comes upon and regain Carrie’s love. Carrie, for some reason, finds Gabriel similar to someone she knew in the past…could it be Emerson? But he and Gabriel are as different as night and day!

Will Gabriel be able to prove to Carrie in one month that he truly loves her? That he’s worthy of being loved?

Final Analysis of Falling Angel

Gabriel’s struggles to be a good man are the main highlight of this book. Carrie is a sweet–very sweet–character. She’s a bit too perfect, and the story here lays the saccharine factor on real thick. It is a Christmas story, however, so it’s seasonally appropriate. There’s a bit from both “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” here.

Falling Angel was quite a change of pace from the Anne Stuart romances I’ve read, where her heroes were intolerable with their cruelty and contempt towards their heroines. In Falling Angel, Stuart takes that evil villain and forces him to be a good guy. I wouldn’t rank it as my favorite Christmas Romance, but it was entertaining enough to earn a positive review.

Read this during the Christmas Holiday season, and it will get you in a merry mood.

the pirate and his lady

Category Romance Review: The Pirate and His Lady by Margaret St. George

The Pirate and His Lady, Margaret St. George, Harlequin, 1992, Cover Artist TBD

Harlequin American Romance #462

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 🙂

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

The Book

Margaret St. George’s The Pirate and His Lady isn’t a historical romance, but a time-traveling adventure published through Harlequin’s American Romance line.

Plot

Elizabeth Rawley is a bookish young woman obsessed with all things pirate, especially the legend of captain Richard Colter and his ship, the Black Cutter which, along with its treasure, had been sunk off the Florida coast after being engaged in a battle over 200 years ago.

While attending a “Pirate’s Ball” she witnesses a strange sight: two ancient-looking ships blasting away at one another in the waters of the sea. When she goes to the shore, she finds a washed-up body. But the man isn’t dead; he’s very much alive and dressed in puffy white Seinfeld shirt and other pirate regalia. Was he a guest of the party dressed in costume? Who could this man be?

Why, it was Richard Colter, the captain of the Black Cutter. How could this be?

Elizabeth takes Richard back to her home. Richard’s adjustment to twentieth-century life is difficult as he’s a man out of place and time. While modern luxuries have made lives easier for humans, Richard was in a way actually better off in the past, as he was a man of wealth and privilege. Even watching tv fills him with a sort of amazed dread.

Elizabeth and Richard fall into a lovely romance as they try to figure why Richard has been thrust into the future. does the lost treasure have anything to do with his improbable appearance?

Either Richard will have to stay in the future or find a way back to his past. But does he want to?

Final Analysis of The Pirate and His Lady

The romance here is bittersweet, as most time travels romances are. I enjoyed The Pirate and His Lady for being a different sort of contemporary category romance. Published in 1992, this book was released right around the time when romances began to branch out from traditional plotlines and introduce paranormal aspects. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Here, I’m happy to say it does!

Time enough for love

Category Romance Review: Time Enough For Love by Suzanne Brockmann

Time enough for love
Time Enough for Love, Suzanne Brockmann, Loveswept, 1997, Ed Tadiello cover art

Loveswept #858

MILD SPOILERS 😉

5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Time for Something Different?

Bantam’s Loveswept category romances might not have been as big-selling as Harlequins or Silhouettes. Still, their output of almost 1,000 books over 16 years gave rise to many popular and successful authors like Iris Johansen, Sandra Brown, Janet Evanovich, and Suzanne Brockmann. The line gave writers more freedom to stray from traditional series restrictions. 1997’s Time Enough For Love by Suzanne Brockmann is a different kind of love story for that era, as it entails time travel plus a love triangle. Between one woman and two versions of the same man!

Maggie Winthrop finds a naked man on her property screaming about the apocalypse. He swears he’s from the future. Like any sane woman, her first instinct is to call the police (but first, maybe a peek won’t hurt. The guy’s body is incredible!)

Does she know this man? The weirdo acts as if they’re good friends. He says he’s Chuck Della Croce. Maggie knows Charles Della Croce, doesn’t she? But this man is not Charles, even though he is. But he’s also Chuck. To Maggie’s amazement, Chuck can predict incredible events before they occur. How is this possible?

It’s because Chuck IS Charles who used a time machine to travel from a time seven years from now into the present that is 199X. (Is your head starting to hurt?)

Time For Two Heroes

Chuck’s creation of said time machine caused a terrorist cell to overthrow the Whitehouse, topple the US government, and take over the United States. Chaos reigns and the only way to put an end to the madness is to stop it from happening in the first place.

Chuck has come back to 199X to make sure his past self doesn’t create that time machine. He knows that present Charles has a secret crush on Maggie, so he will listen to what she has to say. But Maggie, who has no clue about Charles’ feelings for her, isn’t sure she’s up to that task.

Maggie and Chuck spend time together, plotting out their plan. As they do, Maggie can’t help but have feelings for this handsome, tormented traveler from the future that may or may not be.

Eventually, Maggie goes to Charles, whose entire life is his work, and begs him to–well, to stop working. Charles can’t believe what he hears or sees. This is a rare romance (a rare book, for that matter) where the main character meets an older version of himself. Or younger. It all depends on your perspective.

There’s also a shadowy agency after the group to add a little bit of suspense to this short 210+ page book.

As the action unfolds, Maggie is drawn close to both versions of Mr. Della Croce. She is in a love triangle that transcends alternate personalities. He’s the same man, just in two bodies! Chuck, who’s from 7 years into the future…and Charles, who is Chuck in the present day.

It’s weird because Brockmann had me rooting for Chuck, but knowing that to be with Chuck, Maggie had to be with Charles, but–

Final Analysis of Time Enough For Love

I won’t spoil any more for you! Give this one a chance, now that it’s readily available in e-book format. I loved the premise of this romance. It was like “The Terminator” but with 2 Kyle Reeses.

Often, time travel romances are dicey for me. Especially when it’s the heroine traveling back in time and acting all out of place, wondering how she got to the past. Thankfully this book is the opposite of that. Because of the brevity of this Lovewsept romance, there’s no time for silly questions. They have a world to save!

I had so much fun with this. There was plenty to enjoy: the unique premise, the strong writing and characterization, the conflict Chuck feels about the woman he loves falling in love with a him that isn’t himself…

I adored this one. I could kick myself in the rear for selling that hard-to-find original copy I had of Time Enough for Love, but my thighs won’t let me reach!