Monday, December 11, 2006

A Perfect 10---IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS

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IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS -- Wendy Markham
A Perfect 10
Signet
ISBN: 0-451-22003-5
December 2006
Time Travel Romance

New York City and Glenhaven Park, New York - The Present and 1941

Clara McCallum should be engrossed in the latest film that she's starring in, but a simple visit to the doctor has changed everything. She's just been told that she has breast cancer and that she must undergo treatment for it. Unable to tell her divorced parents just yet and alone with her thoughts, the disease is all she can focus on, understandably, but she still has a job to do. Dressed in period costume for the World War II era movie she's making, Clara boards a vintage train to Glenhaven Park where she will meet the actor who plays real life war hero, Jed Landry. The film is based on Jed's life before he goes off to war and never returns.

The short journey on the train is a momentous one for Clara. First of all, she bangs her head when the train suddenly lurches, and then, as she ascends the steps onto the platform, she realizes that the "set" is entirely too realistic. It takes her a while, though, to come to grips with the fact that she's been transported back to the early winter of 1941, and the Jed Landry she meets is the real thing. Her only reality is the iPod in her purse and the ominous bandage on her breast.

Jed is everything Clara likes in a man, except that she knows he's going to die. Can her travel back in time mean that she's there for a purpose? Maybe she can prevent his death? He, in turn, is bemused and wildly attracted to the unusual and lovely woman who has come into his life. But when she disappears, leaving behind her suitcase and an odd electronic device, Jed wonders if she's a spy? He makes an attempt to track her down from a business card he finds in her purse, but the only person at her apartment building in New York City is a talkative Japanese boy who doesn't have a clue who Clara is.

IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS is an engrossing, entertaining story of two people who find each other in the nick of time -- so to speak. They are instantly attracted to one another, and their meeting comes at crucial points in both of their lives. Clara, who also recently broke up with her long-time boyfriend, is going through a very rough period. Jed, the eldest son, has given up his schooling to care for his widowed mother and younger sisters while his brother goes to college. Yearning to get away, still, he steadfastly runs his father's store, aching to get on with his life. When Clara comes back, Jed thinks that he has a reason to stay put.

Wendy Markham has a masterful way of drawing readers into this story and I couldn't put this book down until I, tearfully, finished the last page. Yes, have a box of tissues handy, because you're going to need them! The ending is simply beautifully written. The time travel portion is interesting and not too hard to believe. The characters are memorable, including some of the secondary players who have recurring roles. It's a stroll down memory lane for some of us "boomers" who grew up hearing our parents talk about silk stockings and such. The forties dialogue is well done and the era itself is presented with historical accuracy. But it's the sparks that ignite between Jed and Clara that will shine through in this novel.

For time travel or romance readers, IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS is a must read.

Jani Brooks


PS...to learn about the inspiration behind IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS, head on over to Wendy's site to learn more: http://www.wendycorsistaub.com/new.html
(Follow the link and go down about half way down the page)

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