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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Out of Time by Pauline Baird Jones

Out of Time by Pauline Baird Jones
Publisher: L&L Dreamspell
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (395 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

What happens when a twenty-first century woman on a mission to change the past meets a thoroughly 1940's man trying to stay alive in the hellish skies over war-torn Europe?

Melanie "Mel" Morton is an adventure reporter, who lost her grandfather in World War II. Enter Jack Hamilton, sexy octogenarian, genius/scientist and former WWII bomber pilot.

What he tells Mel sends her on the craziest adventure yet—straight into the past.All Mel has to do is outmaneuver the entire German army and not fall in love with Jack.

Eluding the Germans will be the easy part....

Out of Time simply blew my mind with the intensity, scope and sheer magnificence of a well told and poignant tale about two people who did the impossible by falling in love.

First let me say that this story completely and totally impressed me. Not only did the scope of the adventure astound me but the writing itself is to be applauded. Even though there was a tiny amount of editing burps sprinkled here and there, it by no means knocked me from this story. The tale is so well told with gripping recounts of being in a WW II bomber that I was pretty sure I was wide-eyed as I read this book. At one point I had to step away because the suspense and drama were that well done. Of course I came back, how could I not? Ms. Jones had a way of taking this reader’s imagination and plunking it down into the thick of things. I got the distinct impression that the author not only researched her facts but got them right, and her writing is such that she brought the grit and bravery of the past to life right before my very eyes. My mind is still reeling from the scope of the romance as well.

Mel, short for Melanie, is quite a woman. Her vocation in life inadvertently trained her for the most amazing and important investigation job in her career. What I liked about how Ms. Jones wrote her is the fact that she made it plausible for Mel to do the things she did. I really enjoyed her internal dialogue quips, her sense of self and her impulsive nature. Mel has a delightful sense of humor and a can-do attitude. I giggled with the differences between girls and boys and found it added another layer of authenticity, meaning I could visualize myself right there with Melanie, having the same issues. But somehow I don’t think I’d be quite as sanguine about it as she ended up being. I guess it might have been because she knew and understood how to do things because of her TV show, especially that SEALS gig. My reaction might also have something to do with the fact that a person could be shot while doing it, and wouldn’t that be embarrassing!

Jack is fascinating. He’s the hero in the truest sense of the word. He’s strong, capable, curious and smart. He has the rank of captain and he’s a take charge kind of guy, but he’s wary and cautious too. It was fun reading about this 1940s man having to deal with a twenty first century gal. I loved how he was both puzzled and intrigued by Mel and how he was drawn to her. The author did a good job of getting into his head. Jack also has this amazing theory that is the crux of the plot. He easily wrapped this romance reader’s heart around his pinkie.

Speaking of getting into his head, this tale for the most part is told in Mel’s and Jack’s third person points of view. Ms. Jones also added the POV for the villains in the story because it was integral to the book. It worked and it helped me think of this adventure more as a movie like Gone With The Wind. Just like that famed movie, Out Of Time has a huge ensemble of characters that play integral roles in the storyline and that even includes a death or two. How the author kept everything straight really impressed me because the plot, progress and delivery were tight, logical and vibrant.

Emotion throbs and burns throughout this book once the action starts rolling. I felt the fear and desperation of the characters; their fierce determination and humor under battle conditions came across as well and I felt like I was right there with them. The gradual relationship between Mel and Jack is a slow and steady thread throughout the story. It’s romantic and tragic and hopeful all at the same time. They both fight it for different reasons but its power and beauty could not be denied. It was a very tearful moment when they take the only steps they could to make it ‘real’ in war torn France.

The ending isn’t one of those chop-chop happily ever afters. It took its time to wrap up many threads and Ms. Jones did an awesome job of spreading the happiness, joy and love in believable and adorable ways. It made everything that Jack and Mel went through worth it. And it also hinted that there might be one more amazing adventure ahead of them. When I read that I vigorously shook my head because right now I think their romance is perfect and I want them to stay happy. They went through too much to get to their happily ever after and I want them to continue to be happy. Imagine me crossing my arms over my chest, my face in a pout – I like Mel and Jack, they’re perfect together and for each other, and they better stay that way. So there.

Out Of Time has Oscar nomination written all throughout its very well written and adventurous pages. I can see this being turned into a movie because it is so fleshed out; details are so vivid and the dialogue matched true to the characters that they seem to jump off of the pages. Ms. Jones has a winner with this story and it’s going on my keeper shelf. If I want to remember the sacrifices of the men from that war, (indeed any war our men and women fought in) if I want to remind myself how lucky we are to live in America and be Americans, all I have to do is pick up Out Of Time again, and I’ll be right there, reliving it. If I want proof of the power and endurance of love in times of adversity, I’ll remember reading this story. It’s that significant and wonderful. This book gets an enthusiastic recommend from me.