A lover from another time
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 timeand 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
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Read an Excerpt
God, I needed a cigarette.
We'd had trouble with the propsDick Buskin and Jack Rover had been larking about before curtain playing at swordfights, and one of the idiots had broken Thunder's cane. If it hadn't been for the old lady in row C being a game old dear who let me borrow her walking stick, he'd have been left to bluster without it. When the curtain finally went up, I breathed a sigh of relief, and reached shakily for the cigarette packet in my pocket.
One of these years, I'd give it up, I promised myself. Probably not while I worked in the theatre, though.
I had to smile, because even on days like this, I couldn't imagine wanting to leave, now I'd found my place here. I'd spent most of my twenties working in a bank, trying to please my parents. But that was before the accident that left me an orphan and a widower in a screech of twisted metal and broken lives... I took a deep breath and leaned against the cool, tiled wall, drawing strength from its solidity and permanence.
The Criterion Theatre was an oasis of old-fashioned elegance set inor more precisely, underneathbustling Piccadilly Circus, with its hordes of language students, day-trippers and city folk out west to dip their toes in the decadence of Soho. I'd been a bit effusive about the Cri the day I started working here as a theatre assistant. It was a not particularly glorified euphemism for general dogsbody, and yes, I was too old for the job. But Rob, the house manager, was a friend. A good friend, willing to give me a chance when half the world looked on me as unemployable, what with the tremors in my hand, the dizzy spells and the often-slurred speech that only got worse under pressure. There were a fair few days when I agreed with them.
Rob had raised a world-weary eyebrow at my raptures about the place. "Theatres? They're all much of a muchness, really."
Not this place. The Cri was different, from the pink plush of the auditorium to the ornate Art Deco styling of the box office. I took the stairs two at a time, past the walls tiled in sepia and green, each panel framing the name of a composer of days gone by. The Criterion had been planned as a concert hall but repurposed as a theatre before opening night. Maybe this was why I liked the Cri so muchlike me, she was a leopard who'd changed her spots.
Cherubs smiled down at me from where they frolicked on the ceiling, and Terpsichore played her lyre with silent serenity as I passed. I resisted the urge to run my fingers along the ornate tilesRob was watching from the box office.
"Going out for a smoke, Ted?" he asked with a knowing smile. "You know, you're not getting paid to sort out the props. Let Miri sweat it next time."
I shrugged and patted my back pocket, reassuring myself my cigarettes hadn't jumped out when I wasn't looking. If it'd been half an hour earlier in the evening, I'd have managed without a smoke, but anyone arriving this late for the show would have more to worry about than me smoking outside the theatre and making the place look untidy. I shouldered through the heavy front door, popping a cigarette in my mouth and fumbling in my pockets for my matches...and found Piccadilly Circus full of ghosts.
I stared, the cigarette almost dropping out of my mouth in amazement. I'd always thought there ought to be something more, something beyond this shallow world of fragile lives and shattered dreams. But to see it confirmed was like being hit with a tsunami in the bathtub.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A great, romantic read. Ted has had a rough 18-months after a tragic car accident. As a result of the accident that took his parents and his husband's life, he experiences tremors in his hand, dizzy spells and slurred speech. He lives his life in a haze even if he has always believed that there had to be something more to life than broken dreams and mortality. It isn't until he steps out of the Criterion Theater for a smoke that his belief is confirmed. He is amazed at what he finds and instantly drawn to the figure leaning against the the lamp post. Young, tall and dark-haired, Ted was curious of the man. After a few moments and an accusation that he was standing on the man's 'patch' he realizes that the man is a rent boy. Amidst the confusion and curiosity, Ted has an encounter with the stranger, which only helped to further ignite his curiosity. I enjoyed this novella from start to finish. From the descriptions of Victorian London through the range in emotions brought out of Ted, J.L. Merrow brought to the page a wonderful love story of closure and second chances. Merrow did a wonderful job of taking the reader back in time with sights, smells and sounds. The pages were filled with details, but none of it felt overwhelming in any way. In fact, in only helped to engage the reader more in the story. At least that's what it did to me. I enjoyed the time traveling concept and the purpose it served in the story - to bring Ted his second chance at love. I especially enjoyed learning about Victorian London or an "Dicksensian queer's idyll" as Ted referred to the place. I understood why he felt that way about it because it was there that he started to feel again sensations he had long forgotten over the last year and a half - he lusted, he needed, he loved. The writing was very good, with interesting characters, a unique twist to the time traveling concept and emotions galore, this novella packed a lot essential elements in just 75 pages. The characters were a joy to read. Jem was delightful and kind, he gave of himself to Ted without much question and in the end trusted him with his life. I couldn't resist adoring him! And Ted? Ted was high strung over his mental state, but so in need of finding a connection after all this time that my heart went out to him after his first encounter with Jem. I was cheering them on, grinning when they got together the second time and having a nervous breakdown when the portal wouldn't work. This was a great, romantic read with an adorable set of characters and an interesting set of events that kept my attention throughout. I will certainly be looking for more from J.L. Merrow from this point on.
4-1/2 Stars A beautiful mix of romance, time travel, and history that blends into a perfectly scripted novella of love. Some novellas could be better if they were a full length novel and some, like Trick of Time, are perfect just as they are. Times change, technology changes, inventions come and go, but as Ted and Jem discover, love is timeless and thrives no matter what the calendar says. Time travel may be more science fiction than paranormal but it's still a great addition to my Halloween shelf.
This is a sweet time travel romance. It did an excellent job of holding my attention and keeping me entertained. I enjoyed it very much.
The book has a mix of sci-fi, time traveling and paranormal which made this an enjoyable read for this reader. Then you add an interesting plot and story to the ending that was HFN, this book was an all-around good book to pick and read. Overall a three and half to four stars. I should note that there were a few sections that were dry, dull and slow. I received the book for an honest review, thanks.