Timeless, by Alexandra Monir (2011, Delacorte, YA, 304 pages) is a debut time-travel romance, with a dash of mystery, published today!
Michele's happy life as an ordinary high school student ends when her mother is killed in a car accident. Suddenly she finds herself in the palatial New York home of the grandparents she had never met before--they had disowned their mother when she ran off with Michele's father. Michele never knew her father either--and now she feels truly alone in the world...
But when she finds the golden key that belonged to her mother, Michele finds herself travelling back in time to 1910. There, in the world of gilded age luxury, she meets the young man she's been dreaming of for years. Philip, with his sapphire blue eyes, is one of the few people who can see her there in the past, and they fall in love. But time travel is a tricky thing. The past brings her not only Philip's love, but entanglement in the scandals of families for whom ambition and power mean more than happiness. When she learns that Philip's life might be ruined by his love for her, her travels back to the past take on a terrible urgency...
Timeless is heavy on the romance. Here's an example:
"The way he looked at her was so intimate it made Michele feel exhilarated and shy all at once. She glanced down at the piano keys, trying to calm her racing heart. And then she felt Philip's hand gently lift her chin, and she looked, mesmerized, into those sapphire eyes. Their faces slowly drew toward each other, and he softly brushed his lips against hers." (page 121).
This was not my cup of tea (sapphire eyes just don't do it for me). And I felt very doubtful about the book. (btw, for those who are concerned -- hot and heavy kissing is the extent of their relationship).
But happily for me, the story picked up its pace when Michele and Philip are separated, and her travels back to the past (the 1920s and the 1940s) involve a wider cast of characters. Not only must Michele find a way to give Philip a chance at a meaningful life, but it becomes clear that there is a time-travel mystery surrounding her long-lost father as well. And so the pages turned briskly...until I reached the fatal words "TO BE CONTINUED." Yoiks, I said to myself, now fully invested in the story. How vexing.
I found Monir's writing to be at times a bit stiff, and her various sub-plots not all entirely convincing. But those who are fond of fantastical romances should enjoy this one lots (and this seems to be born out in the reviews linked to below!)
A samply of other reactions: La Femme Readers, Just Another Book Blog, Flippin' Fabulous, and Only Sexy Books Allowed
Added bonus--music is an important part of the story, and a link to two songs, for which Michele wrote the words and Philip the music, can be found at the author's website.
(disclaimer: ARC received from the publisher)