A lover from another time...
When Ted Ennis steps out the doors of the Criterion Theatre for a cigarette and finds himself in Victorian London, he begins to doubt his sanity. At first he thinks it's all a film set, and is sure that the strikingly handsome young man leaning against a lamppost must be the leading man…
What starts as a sordid transaction with a beautiful rent boy quickly turns into something much deeper, drawing him back again and again as he gets to know Jem and craves meaningful encounters with him.
But Ted doesn't understand the exact conditions necessary for his trips through time—and for Jem, time may actually be running out. Now Ted has one last shot to get back to Jem and save their relationship, before it's too late…
One of my favorite genres that I don't get to read much of is time travel romances. I love history and the idea of a character seeing certain time periods with a modern-day mindsight fascinates me. That is why I became interested in Trick of Time when I saw it on Netgalley though I will also admit that I have read and loved many of J.L. Merrow's romances over the years.
Trick of Time is, for me, a very sweet love story between two people who were meant for each other despite the hundred and fifty years separating them in time. Ted Ennis is an assistant for a theater manager in modern-day London who is recovering emotionally from his lover's death. He has been in a state of just existing for awhile now and is finding it difficult to move on with his life. Then we have Jem, a Victorian-era rent boy who has lived in abject poverty for most of his life and doesn't have any hopes of improving his lot.
What happens in this story is that these two damaged people find someone they can truly count on to help them through the difficult times. Merrow does a great job of providing details on each of the heroes as well as motivations for their actions throughout the story. Jem and Ted only really spend about two days with each other, but it is enough for a reader to see that a happily ever after is definitely possible.
I liked the way that Merrow handled the time travel element. It is mysterious and captivating without overtaking the romance plotline. I'm not sure if I would be as accepting as Ted was upon finding myself transported to Victorian-era London, but I was able to get past that pretty quickly while reading. Readers are never told explicitly how the "magic" of the Criterion Theatre works, but I think that gives it a sense of fantasy that doesn't require explanation.
And, finally, I really enjoyed the depiction of the changing views of homosexuality between the two time periods. It is very obvious that being gay in the nineteenth century was dangerous and life-threatening for many gentleman. Jem's character and the care he takes to be with Ted in that time period provides a realistic portrayal of this lifestyle. This is balanced out with the experience that Ted had in his life in the modern world and how he was able to live openly with his partner for years. While things are not perfect now, this book does show that times are changing and things are getting better.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this time travel story and found it to be thought-provoking while still very romantic. The characters are well-developed as is the love story despite the shorter page length. I highly recommend this for fans of male/male romances with a historical element!
**THANKS TO NETGALLEY AND CARINA PRESS FOR PROVIDING ME WITH A FREE E-ARC OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.**