Title: There and Now
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Kristy sent me the following Book Rant, and it was too fun not to share. I love it when I get thoughtful, funny rants and recommendations in my inbox – it reminds me daily that I'm not alone in having Very Strong Reactions to books! And now, meet Kristy, who has a book she'd like to tell you about: There and Now by Linda Lael Miller. If you'd like to read along at home, this book is available from ( A | BN | K | S | ARe).
My Wallet Just Experienced An Intimate Plundering
There are many things one should avoid doing when one is sleep deprived. We are all familiar with the obvious things – operating heavy machinery, performing Lasik eye surgery, attempting to follow a David Lynch ﬁlm… I have recently been given cause to add yet another thing to the ever important list of things to avoid doing when sleep deprived (or hung over – tomayto, tomahto): Selecting escapism reading material.
Take heed my fellow Smart Bitches, though it seems an innocent enough thing to do, selecting escapism reading material when one is sleep deprived can only end in tragedy – or at the very least it will be a waste of seven bucks. Learn from my mistake and only buy romance novels when you are well rested and making clear, intelligent choices lest you end up purchasing a dud.
Some of you may be thinking Iʼm overreacting, so in an attempt at scaring you straight, much like the Red Pavement driverʼs ed videos of yesteryear, I will now share with you the dud I ended up with after having participated in selecting escapism reading material when sleep deprived, or SERMWSD.
Weʼll start with the plot, shall we? The basic plot is about a woman that inherits a house that has a doorway to the past. The house suffered a ﬁre a hundred years ago, leaving a doorway to nowhere in the upstairs hall. While wearing a magic necklace, the woman – Elisabeth – can travel back in time if the time portal is open. Still with me? Okay. Elisabeth travels back in time and instantly falls in love with a doctor and his daughter whom she knows will perish in the upcoming ﬁre. The story plays out with her traipsing back and forth through time trying to convince the doctor that his house is going to burn while also having sex with him, as one does when one stumbles upon a single father in Victorian times.
And now for my review:
My ﬁrst mistake was thinking this book was new because it was on the shelf at the store when in fact itʼs from the nineties. (I guess that explains the over use of answering machines…) Actually, the whole phone thing is a good place to start. There are so many glaring things wrong with this book that Iʼm tempted to write this scathing review in list format. Yeah, this deﬁnitely requires a list:
11 things that bothered the hell out of me while reading a book purchased while participating in SERMWSD. (Yes, this one goes to eleven!)
1. One of the ﬁrst discrepancies is the fact that the author makes a point of saying Elisabeth just got her new phone number (this was before cell phones) yet she immediately gets a call from her girlfriend. “Just then, the telephone rang, startling her even though the agent at the real-estate ofﬁce had told her service had been connected and had given her the new number.” Iʼm willing to forgive this blunder. We can assume they just forgot to mention the girlfriend was psychic. It happens. Or we can assume the stalkerish girlfriend called information to get the number – or did whatever people did to ﬁnd phone numbers way back in the day before cell phones.
2. The magic necklace that allows for time travel? Yeah. Thatʼs never explained. Never.
“Carefully, Elisabeth opened the catch and draped the necklace around her neck. She smiled sadly, recalling Verityʼs assertions that the pendant possessed some magical power.”
We all just need to accept that there just happens to be a magic necklace, and why wouldnʼt it be there? Frankly Iʼm hard pressed to think of a single woman in this day and age who doesnʼt have a magic necklace.
3. Elisabeth instantly, and I do mean instantly, falls madly in love with a complete stranger that is cold and non-receptive.
“ʻWho the hell are you?ʼ The question came from behind her…Elisabeth whirled…and stared into the furious gray eyes of a man she had never seen before. A strange sensation of being wrenched toward him spiritually compounded Elisabethʼs shock…For some confounding reason, Elisabeth found herself wanting to touch him – tenderly at ﬁrst, and then with the sweet, dizzying fury of passion.”
She is also instantly equally enamored with his daughter – which is more understandable because the daughter is a perfectly behaved specimen of girlhood.
4. The doctor acts completely out of character for a Victorian man – banging a crazy lady he found wandering in his house. I know when I ﬁnd crazy women wandering in my house, sex is way down on the list of things to do with them. Sex is even lower than organizing sock drawers or making macrame art.
5. At one point the daughter and Elisabeth get sick. We donʼt know speciﬁcally whatʼs wrong with them, but most everybody else in the town that has caught the mystery disease has died from it. Elisabeth gives the daughter some penicillin from the future, so sheʼs on the mend, but Elisabeth herself is near death, so the doctor valiantly tries to take her to the future, even though doing so would mean leaving his sick daughter to fend for herself, and knowing thereʼs no guarantee heʼll ever be able to come back. Donʼt worry! He doesnʼt end up going through the portal – Elisabeth just ends up disappearing from his arms, ending up in the future where she is admitted to the hospital. Make a note of that, Smart Bitches. When two people attempt to go through the portal, ONLY the one wearing the magic necklace manages to do so.
6. Iʼll spare you the minutia of the many glaring things that donʼt make any sense at the hospital – just know that in Elisabethʼs world you can use antibiotics to kill viruses (!!! yeah science!!!) and when you get an I.V. catheter put in your vein it is actually a needle, and not a small tube of plastic like it is in our world. Ouch!
“That evening when the doctor came by on his evening rounds, he took the IV needle from Elisabethʼs hand and pronounced her on the mend. His kindly eyes were full of questions as to where she could have contracted a virus modern medicine couldnʼt identify, but he didnʼt press her for answers.”
7. Spoiler alert! Elisabeth becomes pregnant and knows sheʼs pregnant based solely on calendar dates despite the fact that sheʼs been jumping through time and time doesnʼt run parallel in the two places she keeps ending up.
8. Elisabeth knowing about her pregnancy shouldnʼt surprise me though. Sheʼs a smart girl. She so smart that she happens to know random facts like the exact year Alcoholics Anonymous was founded even though she has no history of alcoholism.
“…ʼAnd the saloons are brimming with alcoholics. In approximately 1935, two men will start an organization to help drunks get and stay sober.ʼ”
9. Guess what else Elisabeth knows? She knows alllll about daily life in the nineteenth century. Crazy facts like they didn’t have clothes dryers or cars. They cooked on wood stoves and had to rely on ice boxes. And that – ice boxes, wood stoves, clothes lines – is basically the full extent the author goes into describing nineteenth century life. This book paints a vivid, realistic picture of what life was like in the 1800’s. Oh, wait, no it doesn’t.
This is a pet peeve of mine because I do know a bit about the time period. She explains away the astronomical daily work by having a housekeeper employed to do the drudge work. I get it. It's not integral to the story. But it's so lacking as to create a black void in my imagination when I'm trying to place the characters in say the kitchen. Admittedly, someone with little to no knowledge of the time period might not be bothered by it.
10. Another fun fact that bears mentioning is that pioneer women didnʼt really wear elaborate, white wedding gowns. Just sayinʼ. But thatʼs another one of those things Iʼm willing to over look. Something Iʼm NOT willing to ignore is number 11.
11. The daughter and the doctor magically manage to cross over to the future to escape the climactic house ﬁre. Seems reasonable, right? Well, it would if we hadnʼt already experienced number 5. Remember number 5? When the doctor tries to take Elisabeth through the portal but she disappears instead, leaving him behind? Apparently weʼre supposed to forget that happened. DO OVER! Now both of them can go through the portal.
You can see why Iʼm more than a little disgusted with having paid seven, yes SEVEN dollars for such a stooopid story. Adding insult to injury is the last sex scene. Iʼll share with you my favorite line;
“…easing her quivering legs apart for an intimate plundering.”
“Intimate plundering”. If thatʼs not the perfect name for a band I donʼt know what is.
In closing I urge you once again not to participate in SERMWSD! You may very well end up selecting a book like There And Now. There And Now is crap. It was crap There, and itʼs crap Now. You have been warned.