Catherine Anderson is kind of a guilty pleasure for me. All her heroines are strong and resilient, but they usually need saving in some way (blind, paraplegic, abused and on the run, etc.) I’m one of those readers who likes that sort of thing, so it totally works for me. Are they OMG THE BEST THING I’VE READ ALL YEAR? No. Am I going to keep an eye out for more of her stuff because they’re enjoyable reads? Yes.
Perfect Timing surprised me. It’s a time-travel book. I KNOW! Can you believe that?! Don’t worry. No real spoilers. In fact, we find out about this in the first 15 pages or so. I have to admit I almost put the book down in the first chapter. I’m not a fan of Time Travel story lines. Usually they spend too much time “teaching” the traveler the ways of the time period, and it becomes more about the silliness of learning a new culture and less about the relationship between the characters. That and I’m too literal minded. I have too many questions about the consequences of time travel to really believe. And if I’m not totally invested in a book and completely believe THIS CAN HAPPEN, then I get bored or too distracted and I won’t enjoy the book. Interestingly, I had fewer reservations about Ceara’s “skills” than with the time travel.
Luckily, Quincy believes her story pretty quickly, so we get past the whole “Yeah, sure you’re from another time. Uh-huh” debate early on. Now he believes her, so now he trusts her. We have the beginning of a relationship. Next, she adapts fairly quickly. There are a few moments of silliness (the madrigals trapped in the car for example), but on the whole, she jumps into this century pretty eagerly. There is enough family that they can take her in hand and get her up to speed, so to speak, without too much trouble.
Our feisty, time-traveling heroine Ceara has come forward from 1574 in order to break a curse. This is the part that really rang false for me. This sudden and inexplicable “curse” that kills the first wives of all the family’s men. Really? You would think at some point between 1574 and 2013 SOMEONE would have noticed this trend. It seemed to me Ms. Anderson was looking for a reason to do a time travel book, and came up with this because she could force it to fit the story. I understand the urgency in why Ceara and Quincy get married, and why Quincy needs to hurry up, but the family also needed to cut him a little slack. They were sacrificing one girl’s future as well as Quincy’s in order to save Loni. I thought there should have been more fallout from that whole situation, instead of just a quick apology significantly later in the book.
I was happy to see the religious aspect of things toned down a little. It’s still there, but not quite as heavy handed as it was in Morning Light and a few other more recent books by Ms. Anderson. There were a few mentions, but it felt more natural to the story and less like the author proselytizing.
On the whole, this book was less about the time travel aspect than it was about Ceara and Quincy finding their way together through their marriage, and the various land mines they have to navigate. Everything from getting Ceara an identity and the legalities of their marriage, to her homesickness and her loss of certain skills she needs to learn to live without. It made the book far more interesting and romantic than if the focus had been on time travel. At the end of the day I liked Ceara and Quincy quite a bit, and I’m glad I didn’t put it down.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5