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…
It’s been 18 months since Ted’s parents and partner died in a car crash. Ted isn’t physically 100% but he’s enjoying his job at the Criterion theatre very much. One night after he gets things settled for the production he heads out for a smoke and finds what he thinks is a movie set. He ends up talking to a rent boy named Jem who Ted thinks might be an actor. Though Jem “takes care of” Ted, Ted has no money to pay Jem but promises to bring money to him the next day.
Ted thinks he might be losing his mind, especially when his boss says there’s no movie set. Ted also thinks that it all might be in his mind and that he’s personally manipulating it. Both wrong. Ted actually is going back to 1886 and spending time with Jem makes him happier than he can remember being since the accident. The two end up exploring the city in 1886 and have a wonderful time together, getting closer emotionally as well as physically.
One night Ted heads out to see Jem but when he opens the front door he still in his time. He freaks and doesn’t manage to get back to Victorian London for 3 months. When he does he finds out some distressing news about Jem and is determined to change history. He finds a way to get back to Jem as he was when Ted first met him, but he’s not sure he’ll be able to get Jem to understand the urgency of the situation, and Ted can’t see life without Jem.
Let me start by saying that I think JL Merrow is becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books draw me in every time and just don’t let go. I’ve read some of her work but lucky for me there’s a huge list of her books that I haven’t read that will keep me busy for a while. :) This book was no different. There’s a certain quietness about Merrow’s books that ease you into the story and then sock it to you emotionally. The creativity and originality of how Ted time traveled in this story was really quite brilliant as well.
With Ted and Jem things happen relatively quickly but no once did I doubt their feelings for each other. I loved that while Jem might have doubted Ted’s claim that he was from a different time he didn’t ever let Ted know. I loved that Ted could find Jem after he thought the rest of his life would be spent alone after the tragedy that he had endured. Ted never once looked at Jem as any less of a person for being a rent boy and I highly admired him for that.
In the end this was a great story that I know I’ll be rereading in the not so distant future.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Middle Earth & Mail
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