Jennifer's Reviews > Flirting with Forever

Flirting with Forever by Gwyn Cready
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's review
Sep 12, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: kindle, humor, period, romance, time-travel
Read in September, 2011

This was a wacky time-travel romance. I know, what a premise, you think something like that would be doomed from the start. But Cready actually pulls it off. I admit I enjoyed Seducing Mr. Darcy way more than I expected to, and I was intrigued to see just how many stories in the same vein she could pull off. I definitely enjoyed this one, though it was a little less for me than Seducing Mr. Darcy .

In this novel, art historian and curator Campbell Stratford (Cam) is in line for a promotion at the Carnegie Museum in Chicago (?). She is vying for the position with her older sister, who is an ice-cold bitch the likes of which I have rarely seen - a woman who has built her whole life around destroying all hope for Campbell. This was a startling aspect of the book for me. Frankly I was a little confused by how utterly non-humane her sister was. Anyway, Cam is researching a book on Van Dyck and has decided she needs to "sex it up" to compete with her sister's publication to get the job. She clicks "Look Inside" on the Amazon book page - and gets magically transported to 17th century England, to the studio of Peter Lely, Van Dyck's successor as the portraitist to King Charles of England.

I know, I know, it sounds nutty and confusing. What's more, Peter Lely is really Peter Lely, but he's not actually - he's Peter Lely, after he died, sent back by "the Guild" of Artists from the Afterlife, to thwart the supposed future writing of one Campbell Stratford, who is seeking to sensationalize the 17th century art world in her book. Only, she doesn't really know she's going to do that yet, and Peter thinks this Campbell (the author) is a man.

So you can see how it's actually more convoluted than maybe it seemed at first glance. However! I was only marginally confused while reading this book. Cready has a real gift for guiding the reader clearly through complicated plots and backstories. My only quibble is that sometimes the formatting of the dialogue on my KIndle version of this book (Kindle for iPhone, at that) was poor and there were not line breaks between the characters who were speaking - so it got confusing who was saying what. However, I think this was with the format and not with the author.

The book is 3 stars for me instead of 4 because I just couldn't rate it quite as highly as Seducing Mr. Darcy . Perhaps this was because Cam was kind of a pushover who was just fine keeping the wool way way over her eyes when it came to men. I find this hard to relate to! I liked Peter and thought the concept of his life was neat, but the two of them together were all blazing passion and romance and not very much reality. Hey, it's a romance novel so what's my problem, right? I don't know, but the other book had a better grounding in reality for me. I bought it a little more. Perhaps because I am a literature fan but not as much an art history fan.

I enjoyed the way the art history aspect was included in this book. It's not just a thin shell of a setting/plot to stick a romance into. Lely is a painter and Cam is a subject - this was an interesting dynamic and I enjoyed it. Details of the art history of the period were included as well. In general, this was an enjoyable and well-executed novel that stands above other "romance" novels. However, for me it was just a tad less great than Seducing Mr. Darcy , which had a similar hare-brained yet well-executed concept but a little more spark.

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