Dumb cover (hero gazing raptly at heroine’s mostly-uncovered breasts) but decent story. That about sums up Bethany’s Song, a nifty time-travel that is apparently the second in a trilogy. I missed the first one, but just might have to hunt it down.
Bethany James lost part of her family in a car wreck that also left her scarred. Now all she has left are her sisters, Alicia and Caitlyn. One afternoon as they attend the burial of Yolanda D’Arcy, an elderly woman reputed to be a witch, the three women are engulfed in a fog and swept away in the River of Time. Bethany surfaces in a graveyard in Juneau, Alaska, in the year 1895. Matthew Gray and three other men are burying Matthew’s unlamented father.
Matthew is the new owner of the troubled Gray Wolf Mine. A widower, the last thing he wants is another woman in his life to remind him of the death of his wife and child. But Bethany seems to have no memory of how she came to be laying in a graveyard, and Matthew can hardly leave her in the dirt. So he takes her home, warms her up, and tries to piece her story together.
Nothing makes much sense to either Matthew or Bethany. Bethany shows a remarkable amount of common sense. A teacher, she takes a deep breath and tries to figure this out while keeping her mouth shut and her wits about her, a refreshing quality in a time-travel heroine. Matthew can’t make sense of some of her terms, but he’s drawn to her spirit, intelligence and the fascinating mount of independence and self-sufficiency she demands and seems to take for granted. Against their will, these two fall in love.
The troubles at the mine will come home to roost and endanger both Matthew and Bethany. Bethany will use some of her modern-day knowledge to save at least one life. And she won’t give up hoping to find her sisters.
It’s relatively uncommon these days to find a time-travel romance that doesn’t make the reader acutely conscious of the need to suspend belief in order to get into the story. Not so here. The transition from modern-day to past is effortless, and is accomplished in a way that almost seems plausible, at least to readers who’ve also browsed a bit of sci-fi or fantasy. Kudos to Susan Plunkett for taking the time to develop an idea that seems plausible.
But even that takes a backseat to the romance. Bethany and Matthew are two people whose personalities click right away, and the fact that they come from different time periods doesn’t make any difference. The setting - the slightly rough-and-tumble Alaska allows Bethany more freedom than she’d have in, say, San Francisco or Boston. Matt’s gradual realization that this woman is his perfect match is enjoyable to watch, and he’s the perfect person to break through Bethany’s self-imposed walls. Sure he’ll be repulsed by her scars, she’s afraid to let him close - until Matt makes it clear he won’t take no for an answer.
The ending is a neat tie-in to the other two books. I haven’t read them, but it’s a sure bet that all three are taking place simultaneously, so to speak. It’s a clever twist to a trilogy.
Bethany’s Song is a delectable and innovative time-travel, a sweet treat to lovers of this style of romance.