Oh yes, a real, good, old-fashioned Time-Travel romance. Can you believe it? Time-travel was one of my favourite genre when I was a teenager, but truth be told, I didn’t find many good book after that. It’s not easy to write a good book with an abused theme. Anyway, thanks to a spell found in an ancient book, Morgan is sucked back in time, in 1888. I think the author chooses a far enough time to give the reader the taste of an historical era, but not so far to put Morgan on a difficult situation. As he later thinks, if the time was 1388 with outdoor bathroom… well it wouldn’t have been the same.
So Morgan is obviously out of place, but not so much to not being able to integrate. The group of friends who summoned him, nice Derry, brooding Ezra, and flamboyant Henry, help Morgan not only to find a place where to stay (Derry’s home turned lodging house from his sister Kathleen) but they also try to help going back “home”. The problem is that the book, the only lead they have to do that, is vanished. Plus it seems that fate doesn’t want for Morgan to be back yet. Through Ezra’s psychic powers (he is a sensitive and can see and speak to ghosts), Morgan understands that he isn’t allowed to go back, but at the same time he is neither allowed to chance the future. Morgan is “arrived” in past London right at the time when Jack the Ripper is perpetrating his crimes, and Morgan would like to help. Plus there is another reason to enjoy his time in nineteen century, handsome Ezra who, even if engaged and soon-to-be-married, seems to be quite interested in Morgan, and not since he comes from the future. The love story between Morgan and Ezra is sweet and quite, not overtly passionate, but not for this reason less romantic.
I think the author did a good job in not overloading the Time-Travel theme; there are some antics of Morgan, like some slips he has when he talks about airplanes or electricity, but more or less, he fits quite well in the 1888, and most of his oddities are charged to him being an American fellow. I think that also in his own time, Morgan is an “old-fashioned” man, that type of cop who prefers to look and search more than to wave a gun.
There is also a good description of the life of homosexuals in Victorian time, basically they needed to not be noticed, to avoid the forced hospitalization in some asylums (obviously this was the solution if they were from a wealthy family); but if they managed to stay put, the solution of living in all male lodging house maintained by a lady with a good reputation was not a bad solution…
Amazon Kindle: Downtime
Cover Art by Lorraine Brevig