Author: Dana Roquet
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy, Time Travel
Rating: 3 Stars
Torie Mills is beautiful, successful and a New York Times best-selling historical romance author. Determined to find some solace from her fast paced and demanding life, she decides to move to Mahaska County, Iowa—a mile outside of the tiny town of Fremont and into her great-great-grandparent’s old homestead. Her plan is to restore the property to its 1870 glory days.
She hires handsome, renovation expert Dave Cameron to do the work and together they bring the old Victorian house back to life. When Torie moves in, she discovers that restoring the house has opened a portal into the past. Time traveling each night to the Fremont of old, becomes her wonderful escape and her secret obsession.
When she and Dave become lovers, he gets swept into the travels as well—until they both realize, much too late, that there was evil in the past that would have been better left alone…
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I have mixed feelings about Out of the Past by Dana Roquet. Going in, I was under the impression that this was a time travel romance—and it both was and wasn’t. I’d expected maybe your typical endearing romance with some steamy sex and some time travel thrown in to mess things up for the characters, but that isn’t what I got. Instead, I got a story that revolved mostly around dreams of the past heritage of two families with a little bit of romance, and very little time travel involved at all.
Technically speaking, the story was decently written. The plot was new and interesting. I liked the characters, and with a few small exceptions for some flowery writing, the narrative was clean and easy to read. There were no obvious spelling mistakes, incorrect punctuation or grammar, and the sentence structures flowed well.
Unfortunately, the pace was also painfully slow. The detail lever was a bit distracting at times, often with the characters rambling on for two or three pages at a time about the histories of certain objects, complicated genealogical lines, and endless lists of replaced historical artifacts. Frankly, I was bored when the main character droned on about the history of her house and family. I had expected the book to be all about the romance and time travel but soon discovered that it had little to do with either. The story was more often about the love of the character’s restoration work and historical research, and I just wasn’t interested.
To make matters worse, the time travel wasn’t really time travel at all, and as far as I could tell, served no purpose in the plot. The characters didn’t learn anything or solve any problems by traveling (I use this term lightly) into the past. The most it did was fill in some blanks on the family tree and spur on the main character’s shopping sprees for antiques for her newly refurbished historical home.
The romance itself was a bit watered down, and in a way, almost too perfect. There was little to no tension between the couple and they never made any mistakes. The male lead said the right things at the right time, and overall, it came across as bland and contrived.
In the end, I had to give the book a 3-star rating. It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t great either. I wasn’t engaged by the story or characters. Instead, it felt like a very long, drawn-out history lesson. It just wasn’t my idea of a gripping romance, and not what I thought I was going to be reading when I picked it up.