Home in Time for Christmasby Heather Graham Published 27 Oct 2009
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When she rescues a man claiming to be a patriot soldier, sentenced to death by British authorities, Melody Tarleton takes the stranger to her parent's house where a little Christmas magic, some enchanted petals, and ancient potions take them on an unimaginable adventure.
"Home in Time for Christmas" Reviews
I really wanted to give this book a higher rating, but just can't do it. I think this book could've been better, but it seemed like the author rushed through the beginning and then was dragging out the ending. The story was a nice love story without being mushy, I just really wish there had been more to it.
A sweet holiday romance with the twist of time travel. Though I figured out well before the end what the solution to the characters' dilemma would be, I still enjoyed this novel. As with most holiday books, it has "cheesy" elements--over the top themes of family and belonging--and there are definitely PC themes as well--mainly morphing Wiccan beliefs into a Christian holiday--but I enjoyed the unique element of time travel, which I hadn't encountered in a holiday novel before.
Christmas books aren't my bag, but when I saw this one included a bit of time travel with a dishy colonial, I decided to give it a try.
And it wasn't that bad! It got a bit preachy at times, and everyone switching places in the end was a scosh annoying, but all in all it wasn't a bad read.
Aside: Perhaps I overthink these things, but someday I'd love to read a time-traveling romance where the fella or lady pops up in the 21st century and immediately dies from the millions of diseases they're not vaccinated from. OR I want the fella or lady to be absolutely surprised by cars and planes...not just, like in this book, "Oh wow." They do need to continue to be dishy, however.
Tis the season to believe in miracles and love and Heather Graham Pozzessere delivers both with this delightful present in Home In Time For Christmas.
Graham is a prolific best-selling author of several genres from romance and paranormal to romantic suspense so it was a pleasure to find Home In Time For Christmas that combines her historical romance roots in a contemporary with a paranormal (time travel) element.
This unique plot for a Christmas story captivated me from the start with the colliding worlds of a patriot soldier about to be hanged and a 21st century woman returning home to her family in New England. The two intersect on a stretch of road Melody Tarleton is driving on her way to Boston to celebrate Christmas with her family. When Jake Mallory appears in her headlights dressed in Revolutionary-era garb the magic begins.
Concerned for his well-being and complete disorientation, Melody brings Jake home to recuperate while she tries to locate his family. Fortunately, her parents, Mona and George are grown up hippies welcoming all ideas and people into their world which is a direct contrast to their more cynical daughter.
Graham’s trademark of tight plotting and sensual characters allows for suspension of disbelief as readers are immediately plunged into the week of Christmas while the Tarleton family works to make sense of Jake who in turn, tries understand his apparent time travel through a hangman’s noose and he and Melody fall in love.
Sensing something amiss with their unusual houseguest (though not alarmed), Melody’s parents undertake their own rescue operations when Mona discover diaries from the Revolution that harbor clues about him while George – an inventor – continues working on an invention to harness energy and open a portal in their backyard. The right amount of humor, action and magic mixed in with just enough of the ‘what if’ permit readers to consider the possibilities.
With only 48 hours available to travel through the portal to his own time, Jake wrestles with his decision to do so. When Melody’s friend Mark shows up, the tension is ratcheted up as she must decide between Jake and Mark knowing Jake is determined to return to the 18th century even as their relationship progresses.
As the group works feverishly to unravel the time portal and clues about their Revolutionary War soldier, Jake’s sister Serena’s diaries reveal the story of her journey to New York in an attempt to free her brother with the last means available to her: rose petals, potions and ancient spells. But an ending has yet to be written. Precipitous action by Melody and Mark upend the time continuum sending each to ultimately understand and find their respective destinies.
Humor is littered throughout the book as Jake tries to make sense of the 21st century and the unconventional Tarleton family conspires to find a way to get everyone back where they belong. Melody’s brother Keith is a delightful foil to his family and Jake’s sense of duty and honor are palpable. This works thanks to a total suspension of reality and enchanting belief in magic and Christmas.
A light-hearted read that provides enough emotion with holiday flair adding up to a nice escape during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Put this book on your list and don’t think twice!
Not good. Not good at all. The premise is interesting and fun: Jake Mallory, Revolutionary War soldier, is about to be hanged as a traitor. At the last moment, his sister uses magic to transport him away from the gallows, and he lands in present-day Gloucester, where he meets Melody Tarleton. She takes him to her home after hitting him with her car, but because he insists he's from 1776 she's convinced he has amnesia, a concussion, or is perhaps crazy.
I love this kind of story, and can easily suspend disbelief if the writing is good. But this was just not good. Where was the editor? Where was the proofreader? At least twice, "it's" was used in place of the correct "its." And "who's" in place of "whose." At one point, Jake, whose stay in the 18th century ended in 1776, began lecturing on the events surrounding the drafting of the Constitution, which wasn't drafted until 1787. And several times the characters discuss Wicca, something that Jake knows all about despite the fact that Wicca is a modern, 20th-century religion.
Also problematic was the pontificating on history, religion, tolerance. Good grief, did Graham write this book for the sole purpose of sharing her beliefs? We're beaten over the heads with lessons on tolerance. Beaten. Over. The head. And the talks about history...I often felt like I was reading a textbook or sitting through a lecture rather than reading a novel. Take for example, the following:
...Melody saw the huge tree that stood on the snow-covered lawn just before the cliffs that rose in back.
"The Christmas tree is actually an old German tradition, right?" she murmured to her father.
"Yes," George said. "The first ones apparently showed up in several towns at the same time, in front of guildhalls, I believe. There's a German church record of one being erected in the mid-1500s"
"Ah, but there was big trouble regarding trees for many years and in many places," Mona said. "Some of the stricter church folk back then saw them as a pagan symbol. The time of our Christian holidays revolves around the ancient dates of the Roman Saturnalia and winter solstice of the druids," Mona said.
Did your eyes just glaze over as you read that? Mine sure did. This has zero bearing on the story and appears to have been added so that Graham could simply regurgitate research that she'd done. And yes, in that last paragraph, that's not my typo; "Mona said" is there twice. Just in case we fell asleep while reading and forgot who was talking, I guess.
Sadly, the characters were almost entirely dull, silly, or stereotyped. The wacky Wiccan mother, the scientist father who blows things up in the workshop, the younger brother with whom Melody is constantly bickering, despite both being in their 20s. Jake is kind and polite, but he has almost no difficulty assimilating into the 21st century. Again, with competent writing a suspension of disbelief is not only possible but fun. Here, it just didn't happen. There's no chemistry between Melody and Jake, making it impossible to buy a romance between the two.
Finally, and absurdly (because this book wasn't silly enough already), in the end we learn that the gateway through which individuals can time-travel - conveniently located in Melody's parents backyard, which also happens to be Jake's yard in the 18th century - is open at both sunrise and sunset on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This leads to a good deal of back-and-forth between centuries, and loads of hand-wringing: "Oh, no! Mark (Melody's ex-boyfriend) went through the portal instead of Jake! We only have three more times to try!" "Oh, no! Mark is back, but now Melody went through the portal instead of Jake! Only two more times to try!" And so on. I found myself skimming over huge sections, just waiting for something to finally happen, for goodness sake. Something that I'd care about. No luck.
I'm a sucker for Christmas romances. A total sucker. And I'll forgive a lot in order to get my holiday fix. But this was just unforgivable.
In the beginning: The concept of this book sounds great... I am excited to read where this book can go... Jake appears in the road that Melody is driving on to go home for Christmas. Where did he come from? 1776...
In the middle: I am having a hard time getting into this book... There is no chemistry yet with Melody and Jake... I have been reading this book for days and I am only half way through and finding it hard to pick up to keep reading... I hope it gets better soon!!!
The end: 2/3 of the way thru the book I decided to skip paragraphs... The book just never took off for me. Yes I did want to know how it ended but it was pretty easy to figure out what would happen. None of the characters meshed to me and since it was so obvious the ending just had no bang to it. I love Graham's books but this one I wish I had missed. (I gave it 2 stars because I did want to read the ending and I only give 1 star to books I can't stand to finish.)