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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Review: Sundial

by Carrie Lofty

Amber Schulman stepped into a lush English garden in 2007, only to arrive in breath-taking Sorrento, Italy – in 1958. The only person who understands her confusion is fellow time traveler Mark Lacey, a New Yorker who comes from the land of cassette tapes and Reaganomics. His dark, world-weary eyes beckon her with secrets and sensuality. But why does he seem so familiar?

Trapped in the past since he was a teen, Mark wants nothing to do with another whining newcomer. But the blue-eyed Aussie might be able to answer the one question that haunts him: Do I ever get back to 1987?

From soccer to samba to sex, Amber tempts him with a zeal for life and love, pulling him free of his lonely isolation. But getting home could prove easier than they imagined. How will their love endure if Amber returns to her time – and Mark to his?

I thoroughly enjoyed this touching, passionate time-travel story that blends mystery with genuine longing and love in a wonderfully original tale.

When Sundial opens, Mark Lacey and Amber Schulman both find themselves mysteriously transported back through time, to Italy, 1958, where they meet in the city of Sorrento. Mark has already been there for 4 years, and though barely 20 years-old, he’s become jaded and indifferent toward life. When the 30-year old Amber arrives, however, she takes him under her wing. Together they weather the frustration and confusion of being trapped in time. While the couple suspects they will eventually return to different decades in the future, they make the most of their circumstances together and fall deeply in love.

Ms. Lofty does an excellent job of setting the scene (who wouldn’t want to be trapped in mid-twentieth century Italy, after reading this story!) and developing the characters of Mark and Amber. Mark is a sensual young man, yet immature, sad and lost. Amber is a perfect match for him: older and worldly, passionate and strong. The love scenes are hot and well written, balanced perfectly with the tension of the situation the lovers find themselves dealing with. The chapters leading to the final climax will have readers flipping the pages to find out what happens when Mark and Amber discover a way to leave Italy and return to the future.

My only criticism is that Amber seems to take the whole time travel experience in stride. After falling through a time portal from England to Italy, and leaving everything she knows behind, maybe forever, she completely adjusts to living in an unfamiliar country in a foreign time period, after only a couple of days.

However, the story rises above this minor stumbling block, thanks to the authentic love relationship between the hero and heroine, the sensuous setting of the story, and the thread of tension that Ms. Lofty continually winds from beginning to end. I recommend Sundial highly!

Reviewed by Dandelion