For the Baby's Sake

That Woman in Wyoming

A Time to Dream

Whispers Through Time

An Echo In Time by Sherry Lewis
(Jove, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-515-13156-3
Sam Evans is a cowboy who finds himself at a crossroads in 1889 Colorado. For a time, he thought he was in love with his neighbor, Olivia Hamilton, and had hoped to marry her. He soon realizes though, that Olivia isnít in love with him, but with another man, Kurt Richards, who just happens to have traveled back in time. Sam is getting the itch to set out on his own, when a gunfight ensues over at Oliviaís ranch.

While he and Kurt are battling it out with the bad guys, Sam notices a strange swirling portal opening up in the landscape. Knowing that Kurt and Olivia truly belong together, and looking for a fresh start, Sam makes a run for it - straight into present day Heartbreak Hill, Montana.

Sam only has the clothes on his back and a loaded shotgun, which soon gets him in trouble with the local law. When heís hauled off to jail, he meets local sheriff, Taylor OíBrien. Taylor has enough on her mind at the moment without having to deal with a prisoner who claims to be over 100 years old. A single mom, sheís running for re-election against a man who will stop at nothing to get her out of office. On top of that, her 10-year-old has been misbehaving in school and asking hard questions about his father. How does she explain to her son that she trusted the wrong man? That his father ran off the minute he found out that his teenage girlfriend was pregnant?

An Echo In Time is a nice story about a nice couple, but not much else. Sam, blessedly, knows immediately that he has traveled into the future, so there isnít a lot of tedious skepticism on his part. Taylor is understandably a little wary of Sam and his outrageous story, but accordingly changes her tune when she gets evidence to bolster his claims. They are both nice, hardworking people who deserve the happily ever after they work for over the course of this story.

I had more of a problem with the details surrounding Sam and Taylor, namely the secondary characters and the back-story. Most troublesome is Taylorís father, Charlie, who is just too naÔve to be believable. He continually botches his daughterís campaign, immediately swallows Samís story, and sets the land speed record for playing matchmaker. Taylorís son, Cody, starts out as a boy who naturally has questions about his father, drops the subject in the middle of the book, and then picks it up again towards the end. In fact, this whole plot thread is very minimally resolved, which may annoy some.

Taylorís nemesis, real estate agent Hutton Stone, is determined to win the election and eventually hauls Taylorís past into the political arena. So she got pregnant at 17 and never married - big deal. This book takes place in 2001, not 1950. Honestly, why would this even be an issue? Taylor is the town sheriff and a good mother, not a drug addict robbing convenience stores or the town whore. This didnít make any sense to me, as I just didnít see it as conflict.

The author has hit on an interesting concept, a cozy time travel with small town atmosphere. Fans of Whispers Through Time (Kurt and Oliviaís story) and readers who like their romance sweet, with a moral message - in this case, telling the truth - may want to give this sequel a try. Those looking for a story with some bite would do better to look elsewhere.

--Wendy Crutcher

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