by Chris Davies Curtis
‘Nurse Alice Baker always knew she could draw pain away from her patients with her healing hands, but not the price she might pay.’
I don’t read romance novels and wasn’t expecting this to be one so I began reading with a different mind-set, looking for the fantasy aspect. A few pages in, it became clear that romance came first, or rather, romance-style writing.
Curtis writes mostly in the tell not show style, which is fine but through the first third of the story it did leave me wanting more depth. Once she had laid out the back stories sufficiently though, she showed us the story and it became more interesting. And actually, leaving the romantic aspects to one side, the idea was intriguing.
A woman with the ability to heal and time travel? Who doesn’t love the idea of time travel? I love fantasy so Curtis’s blending of the factual historical events of London in the Blitz and time travel was interesting.
Not being a reader of romance, there may be things that I misread. For example, the speed of developing romances made it difficult to trust there could be real depth invested in the relationships, an expectation I felt was expected of the reader but not sustained by that rapid matchmaking. I never like being retold someone has stunning eyes or gloriously coloured hair or resonating deep brown eyes. These things became repetitious, but again, that could be my failing – it could well be a romance staple.
There were great ideas introduced – time travel, alternative universe, but the speed we were introduced to the concepts and the way we were told about them, not shown, meant there was little in the ideas themselves that didn’t feel forced. These themes were offered as exposition only, so remained under-developed. There were several cases of vital information being overheard, too, which again allowed for a quick push of the plot but gave little to individual character or plot maturity. One oversight niggled – Alice had already proved she could summon John by telepathy so the business of her and Freda wondering how to let him know urgently he was needed and then have someone fetch him was a fairly big hole in the narrative.
Curtis did a lovely job of bringing Blitz London to life and she had some wonderful domestic touches which made those parts real. She obviously knows her stuff here. The heart-breaking tragedies consuming those years was well realised, too. I also learned some things, which is utterly ideal in historical fiction writing. I feel Curtis has allowed for future volumes with her main characters and she has given herself a universe to roam in.
Some great ideas and some lovely visual retelling of the Blitz. Much thanks to Chris Davies Curtis for the opportunity to read and review her novel.
Author: Chris Davies Curtis
Publisher: Chris Curtis Books
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