Overseas by Beatriz Williams
G.P. Putnam's Sons
Published May 2012
Trade paperback, 464 pages
After reading a few rave reviews, I was
excited to dig into this novel. It has all the elements I love in a
story—time travel, historical fiction, suspense and romance. I was
hooked as I started reading the first atmospheric scene which takes
place in the early morning shadows in France during WWI, until I got
to page 6 and was jolted back to the present where f-bombs began
raining down so hard I didn't know where to run for cover. After
chapter two, I stopped counting. Some of the characters used the
f-word in almost every sentence. C'mon, was that really necessary? I
can easily skim over a few f-words, but this was excessive. Thus
began my struggle with this book. Apart from the profanity, I had a
few other issues with the story.
Kate Wilson is a Wall Street analyst
who meets the dashing British billionaire Julian Laurence at a business meeting. He
is attracted to her, falling in love with her almost instantly. This
baffles Kate until she discovers that he is actually Julian Ashford,
a celebrated war poet and infantry officer who mysteriously time-travelled from France of 1916, where he supposedly died at war. But
Julian is keeping a dangerous secret from the past from Kate and is
overprotective of her, until it all comes to a head and Kate believes
she must travel back to the past to save him.
The premise is wonderful, with a love that
transcends time and space, and actions that Julian and Kate take to
keep it alive when there are factors that threaten their very
existence. The problem is that the danger or threat was never too
real to me because the secondary characters were underdeveloped and
overshadowed by the romance. Yes, the romance. I felt like I was
reading a Harlequin romance novel where the hero and heroine just
can't get enough of each other and every scene is permeated with
kissing and sex talk. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy romance as
much as the next girl, and I loved Julian's old-fashioned chivalry,
but if the editors would have cut 100 pages and reduced it to 350
pages, I think it would have been less romance-laden and felt more
like I was reading fiction published by Penguin. It is said that less is
more. And it certainly would have made their timeless love more
powerful rather than cloying at times.
Williams is a good writer, though, and
one could easily mark the difference between the modern men and their
speech versus Julian and his poetic expressions of love to Kate. The
story alternates between the past and the present, a technique which really worked for this story. It initially builds the suspense, but then midway it lags in the
present and finally merges with the past toward the end. I would have
liked more scenes in the past (they were the ones I enjoyed the most)
and more on Kate's impressions with being hurtled back to France
during WWI. The whole time travel aspect was okay, but I feel it
could have been explored a little more.
I had high expectations for this book,
and I was disappointed. I felt the story could have been so much
more, with a better developed plot. However, I know that there are
other bloggers who loved it, so you may want to check out their
reviews as well.
Note: This book is rated P = profanity for lots of f-words and religious expletives. Rated S for sexual content and sex scenes.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: Time Travel Reading Challenge
Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: Thanks to Penguin Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.