Body Electric

The Burning

The Companion

Danegeld

The Hunger

No More Lies

 
The Mists of Time
by Susan Squires
(St. Martin’ s, $7.99, PG13) ISBN 978-0-312-94355-4
****
Are you ready for a time traveling romance that actually works? Yes! I was too, and I'm glad that Susan Squires scores with The Mists of Time.

The prologue of this tale absolutely grabs the reader from the first page. Instead of a boring backstory, we are thrown into what seems like an episode of Law and Order. I don't want to give it away, but our heroine, Diana, is initially presented as a very screwed-up kid.

On to the story. Diana Dearborn is a grown woman with some emotional baggage, a job she likes at the museum, a hopefully up and coming career as a romance author, and a stalker following her around. Not only that, she is obsessed with an old book that was given to her as a gift; it details the possibility of a time machine hidden within the library where Diana works.

Diana's other obsession is the age of Camelot, and she desperately wishes that she could go back to that time. While the book seems like a way to get there, she knows that it's probably impossible. Finally, Diana gathers the nerve to try to live out her dreams and reach Camelot, and the machine is found. She hurtles back in time, but unfortunately King Arthur is dead, the land is at war and she ends up bringing a wounded stranger home with her. Diana figures that she can't just leave the bleeding soldier behind, and so once back in the present time, she brings him to her apartment. Then, just as she has no idea what to do next, her stalker shows up.

Diana's stalker is Gawain, a knight from the 5th century whose mission is to protect her. Of course, Diana doesn’t know this. She also doesn't know that the wounded man she's brought back with her to San Francisco is the terrible conqueror Mordred, and that by bringing him to the 21st century, she has inadvertently changed the fabric of time. While Gawain tries to convince Diana that he's the good guy and Mordred's the really bad guy, time is running out to make sure that the future remains intact.

The Mists of Time was a great story, in the same vein as the classic A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. I loved Squire's way of storytelling. It's a pure cascade of words, completely lacking in purple prose.

Diana is our heroine, and she's a piece of work. She's a romance author who's never been in love and an adopted child who has no idea where she came from, and she has a whole bag of issues that need resolving. She's also good hearted, sweet, and desperate to find her path in life. She is a real, flawed woman and it really worked for me.

Gawain is trying to be the perfect knight, but he's flawed by nature, so entranced by Diana that he can hardly see straight. He's extremely hard on himself, afraid of failure, and trying to figure out a mission that he's not too sure of.

Together, Diana and Gawain are interlocking souls. They really complement each other, real and imperfect as they are. Their self-doubts do interfere with their relationship, but the way it comes about is so naturally written that it's extremely believable.

The only thing that stops The Mists of Time from being one of the best reads of the year is that it starts off with a bang and then kind of falters and slows down for the first few chapters. Then, after a lag, it rights itself and reads beautifully. Highly recommended.

--Amy Wroblewsky


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