Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Review: Trick of Time by JL Merrow
3.75 Pants Off
A lover from another time
When Ted Ennis steps out the doors of the Criterion Theatre for a cigarette and finds himself in Victorian London, he begins to doubt his sanity. At first he thinks it's all a film set, and is sure that the strikingly handsome young man leaning against a lamppost must be the leading man…
What starts as a sordid transaction with a beautiful rent boy quickly turns into something much deeper, drawing him back again and again as he gets to know Jem and craves meaningful encounters with him.
But Ted doesn't understand the exact conditions necessary for his trips through time—and for Jem, time may actually be running out. Now Ted has one last shot to get back to Jem and save their relationship, before it's too late…
I am a huge fan of JL Merrow's writing, wonderful characters with great bits of wit and personality. Trick of Time is unlike any of the stories I've read, but it’s another side of the author's writing I very much enjoyed.
Ted Ennis lost his husband and family in the blink of an eye, and now he's all alone. Left with the scars of the accident, he just has the theatre where he works as something to keep him sane. When he heads out for a smoke break one night, Ted thinks he's walked unto a Victorian London movie set, and there's even the rent boy by the lamp post to make it authentic. Ted feels like he's losing his mind, and a co-worker confirms it when he looks out and see present London (billboards and all). This might all be a trick of the mind, but the beautiful boy against the lamp post with the talented mouth can't be a figment of his imagination, there’s just no way.
Lamp post boy turns out be Jem, and Ted is fascinated by him and looks forward to every smoke break. For Ted it’s like waking up after the death of his family, there’s the guilt and self doubt but most of all there's all the feels. A series of intimate encounters lead the men towards a friendships of sorts, and Ted finds that he likes to be where Jem is, that is until he gets trapped in the time warp and faced with the confusion, poverty, and reality that he might be trapped in a time he was never meant to be in.
This story though short is very moving. I feel like I got to see things through both the character's eyes, though it’s told only through Ted's pov. It has a great sense of place that pulls you in, and even though I was trying to figure out the reason for this time slip, it all just felt right. I wanted Ted to find happiness and I wanted him to have it with Jem. The idea behind them being together seems ludicrous and impossible, but I wanted it anyways. How JL brings it all together was done rather well, maybe a little farfetched but it worked out very well. There is some focus on the how the time travel came about, and how Ted was able to work it for favourable results.
Overall, I really enjoyed it and it felt like a full novel on such a few pages. I really got to know Ted and I got to know Jem through Ted. There was nothing to laugh about in this one, but the author still manages to bring her cleverness.