by Virginia Farmer
Love Spell, September, 2003.
Paperback, 300 pages.
Subgenre: Time Travel
In 1799 England, in the tiny town of Haslett Ham, Nelwina Honeycutt is placed on the auction block by her drunken thug of a husband (the wives sale was a common 18th century way of ridding oneself of a troublesome wife). The illegitimate daughter of the local earl, Nelwina longs for a better life. But as soon as the local gypsy can tell her to be careful what she wishes for, Nelwina is transported to modern day England. She's sold off the block to Chicago-based architect Adam Warrick, who has just inherited the estate of Spenceworth. Adam pays one pound for his "wife" thinking she's an actress in a recreation. Now Nelwina finds that she has switched bodies with an American accountant, Jocelyn Tanner, and that Jocelyn has gone back in time to take her place (see, The Sixpence Bride). Nelwina is scared out of her wits, but soon realizes that she's much better off here than she ever was with her cruel husband. Now ensconced at Spenceworth manor, Nelwina is befriended by a mysterious gypsy and Adam's irrepressible mother. She and Adam are attracted to one another, but Nelwina is finding it hard to adapt to the 21st century way of life (pantyhose are especially puzzling.)
Time travel romances require the willing suspension of disbelief by the reader. Once that is accomplished, the author walks a fine line -- characters misplaced in time have to adapt, but not so quickly as to throw the reader right out of the fictional world in which the story unfolds. Virginia Farmer is an expert at finding this balance. Nelwina is a survivor. Although she's scared, she bravely tries to fit in with a world that has totally different values and customs than the one she left behind. Certainly the food and 21st century plumbing are much, much better than what she left behind. The dialogue is funny, and the characters are immensely likeable. Time travel romance lovers will be in heaven with Ms. Farmer's latest offering.
Spenceworth Bride is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the January-February, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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