Book Review

Book Rant: There and Now by Linda Lael Miller

Title: There and Now
Author: Linda Lael Miller

Comic style image of a woman with blonde hair yelling into a cell phone, with the words 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.

There and Now by Linda Lael MillerWeʼll 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.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    ms bookjunkie says:

    So you’re not going to read the other book about the necklace and Elizabeth’s cousin and the sheriff? (IIRC, the ‘90s were a looong time ago…)

  2. 2
    Catherine says:

    This review has caused IGWSD (incessant giggling when sleep deprived)!

  3. 3
    Sasha says:

    I know all about the sleep deprived, late night purchases.  It’s when in the morning I’m glancing at my e-mails and see all the notices about my “recent Nook purchases” and I’m like, “I bought, what, at 2:00 a.m.?”

  4. 4
    Anony Miss says:

    Plundering.

    I am supposed to have a straight face at work with PLUNDERING????

  5. 5
    SB Sarah says:

    He doesn’t always plunder, but when he does, it is an intimate plundering.

  6. 6
    Jaelwye says:

    Haven’t read this book, but on a note of mild defense—the ‘mysterious door to another world’ motif can be pretty compelling in the hands of a talented author. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have spent my ninth year hanging out in my closet trying to get into Narnia.

  7. 7
    Hannah E. says:

    I thought 2000’s Linda Lael Miller was pretty bad, but 90’s Miller sounds downright scary.

  8. 8
    Layla says:

    Can I just mention for a second how much I HATE penicillin from the future? I’m reading the Outlander series now, and man, that shit is everywhere.

  9. 9
    Kristy says:

    Gabaldon can do no wrong! At least she MAKES the penicillin from moldy bread. (After the few ampules she thought to bring are used up…)

  10. 10
    Laurel says:

    I just hate penicillin that cures a virus. Ever. HOW DOES THIS STILL HAPPEN IN BOOKS?

  11. 11

    I’d always thought being able to buy books late at night was a point in favor of ereaders. Thanks for the enlightenment. :)

    In defense of David Lynch movies, Dune is pretty straight forward.

  12. 12
    Karenmc says:

    My roommate has some Linda Lael Miller books lying around the house. Maybe that’s why she was rushed to the hospital last week. She’s fine now, but I need to ask if there was a magic door in her hospital room.

  13. 13
    Rachel says:

    True. Her books are meticulously fact checked.

  14. 14
    Flo_over says:

    I intimately plundered a carton of quivering ice cream the other day.  I was hiding in a closet and apparently I did have a magic necklace since my 2 year old couldn’t find me.

    WHAT?  Don’t look at me that way.  You’d hide too if there was only a tiny scoop left and you hadn’t eaten all day!

  15. 15
    Ekaf1011 says:

    I live reading poeple’s funny book rants! 

  16. 16
    Layla says:

    Haha, I realize that I’m in the minority with regards to Gabaldon (though I enjoy her books very much, I think they’re full of crazysauce). The penicillin thing in Outlander really bothers me, though, because though Claire acknowledges how hard it is to get the right kind of mold for penicillin, she recognizes the right kind under a microscope because she remembers the picture from her medical textbook and then stars her own penicillin farm? SERIOUSLY? Sigh. It reminds me of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (which I also love), where Michaela invents every surgery, ever.

  17. 17
    cleo says:

    I’m still giggling over the “sweet, dizzying fury of passion.” WTF? 

  18. 18

    I’m loving the comments as much as the ranty review. Thank you all for giving me a giggly morning.

  19. 19
    Heather says:

    Yeah, the “Best-Selling Author” series is really reprints of old series romances by now-successful authors. Just put a new cover on it with a really hunky dude and call it good. Several people have bought them only to find early (read: not-so-good) stories from big names in the romance industry. The only LLM books I’ve ever read was her vampire books, “Forever and the Night” and the other three. No, I don’t remember all the titles, but I do remember thinking the sexytimes were sexy. I should track down the first book and try rereading… but I’m scared I’ll be disappointed.

  20. 20
    Kelly says:

    And more important, uses it for infections! Not the common cold. I like even more that Claire didn’t have instant success with it, either. No easy way out! (the birth control berries are another story, though)

  21. 21
    Sam says:

    The only book by Linda Lael Miller that I’ve read is My Outlaw which is also a time travel romance. The time traveling in that one wasn’t explained well either and doesn’t seem to follow any sort of rules since the hero and heroine time traveled whenever the story called for it.

  22. 22
    Kristy says:

    My favorite Claire-medicine is when she uses maggots to clean necrotic tissue. It’s accurate, realistic, AND totally feasible within the story. I’ve used the ol’ maggot trick in my own stories.

  23. 23
    Connie333 says:

    But why did she have penicillin with her while travelling back in time? Who the hell randomly carries that around with them? Since she knows they die in a fire wouldn’t a fire extinguisher have been a lot more useful along with birth control pills?
    Why do I suddenly have so many questions about a book I’m never going to read?

  24. 24

    No vodka induced purchases either:) Purchase then drink, not the other way around.

  25. 25
    Beggar1015 says:

    I always try to carry some penicillin and a fire extinguisher with me at all times. You just never know when you might stumble upon a portal to another time.

  26. 26
    RebeccaJ says:

    One of my biggest pet peeves about reprinted books is that it does not say that clearly on the cover. I don’t care what cutesy title they give the collection..“It’s the “We Love Firemen!” collection!”…I want to see right on the cover that it’s a reprint, otherwise I feel the company is deliberately misleading consumers. And yes, I HAVE complained to Harlequin/Silhouette about this practice in the past;).

  27. 27
    LG says:

    Me too! It gets to me that, say, Nora Roberts’ covers now have “first time in print” when I would much, much rather they say “reprint” or something like that. True, you can sometimes find that information on the copyright page, but it would feel more honest for them to put it on the cover. That they don’t just confirms for me that publishers are hoping people will make the mistake of buying an older book while expecting a new one. You know, sometimes I don’t own the older book and would have bought the reprint anyway, and knowing it was a reprint right off the bat would have prepared me mentally for what I was getting. It’s like that time I bit into a piece of cake expecting cheesecake texture (because it was called a strawberry cheesecake), only to find that the texture was totally different and only called a cheesecake because it had cream cheese in its ingredients. It was a good cake, and I liked the second slice I had the next day, but that first slice was horrifying, because it wasn’t what I expected.

  28. 28
    Jessica_HookEm says:

    I read three of her books a while ago and was not at all impressed.  I think that they were the three McKade brothers.  Anyway, as a native Texan, I enjoy reading books about my home state.  Unless they are so hopelessly untrue that it’s scarring.  It was like she watched the show Dallas and decided to base a series on it.  For the record, Dallas, the TV show, is NOTHING like Dallas, the city, actually is.  I think that with this review she’s officially in my do not EVER waste money on her books again.  Thank you for sacrificing yourself for us and for the hilarious review!  I love the comments too!

  29. 29
    LG says:

    You know how these things usually work, though? The one day you forget your penicillin and fire extinguisher, *that’s* the day you accidentally travel back in time. So annoying.

  30. 30
    Barb Lie says:

    LOL This was hilarious.

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