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Friday, October 24, 2008

The Right Man

****½ The Right Man by Anne Stuart. Time travel romance.

I wasn't sure I should add the sub-genre here, because I wasn't aware of it when I picked up the book, and it was such a cool surprise that I'd hate to spoil it for someone else. Then I realized it's a 9-year-old book, and that all the Amazon reviews mention it, so it shouldn't be a huge problem.

The Right Man starts out with Susan Abbott getting ready for her wedding, which is to take place in five days. She's trying on her mother-in-law-to-be's wedding dress, which she absolutely loathes, but can see no way out of wearing.

Enter Jake Wyczynski, bearing gifts from Louisa, the eccentric godmother Susan's never met. She asks him for help with the zipper, and he yanks, ripping the dress irreparably in the process.

Coincidentally, the first of several gifts from Louisa is a wedding gown--specifically, the wedding gown worn by her aunt Tallulah, who was killed in a train wreck on her honeymoon.

There's so much going on, and we haven't even gotten to the time travel part yet. Attraction between Susan and Jake, which you undoubtedly saw coming. Edward, Susan's fiance, is a "logical" choice, though neither of them is in love with the other. Susan's mother is all for Susan marrying Edward because she herself had married for love--an unsuitable man, and the difference in their social status broke them apart.

Then Susan tries on the wedding gown... and finds herself in her aunt Tallulah's body, just days before her wedding... and her death.

After coming to terms with whose body she's in, and the strangeness of meeting her mother as a young child, Susan decides that, Quantum-Leap-like (she even mentions the show), her mission is to save Tallulah.

To tell you the truth, I wasn't all that thrilled with the book before the time travel. I can't understand the mothers (and they're not all that rare in fiction) who are so determined that their children marry someone they know they're not in love with. Probably because my number one priority for my kids is that they'll be happy. And regardless of what those mothers seem to think, there is a middle class--the alternative to marrying a wealthy jerk doesn't have to be marrying a charming homeless guy. Gah.

So I was prepared for the usual mother pushing for daughter to marry the rich guy, and the daughter falling in love with the unsuitable... er... suitor. When Susan leapt into Tallulah's body, though, that was interesting.

And to be fair, Susan's mother's attitude was explained, and I understood and believed it, though I still didn't like it, but even that ends up okay, because she doesn't just learn to accept Jake at the end--she learns that... okay, I'm not going to spoil the whole story. Just know that she grows and changes, too.

Fabulous story. As with Anne Stuart's other older books, I'm left wishing I'd been reading her all along. But then I wouldn't have so many new-to-me books to look forward to, or the fun of the treasure hunt of finding them.

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Well if you liked this one, I hope you'll like the one I wrote. Announcing it on today's blog. :)
I love time travel stories!

Carmen wrote a book? Wow!
Did you ever read Anne Stuart's Paw I and II books? I believe Geeta recommend it to you. Recently Annie and Linda recommend it too. It a thief and spy book as I am told :) Love those theme.
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