TIME AND TIME AGAIN by Dennis Danvers


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Danvers writes erotic melodramas about people with bizarre secret selves. A werewolf was the protagonist of his striking debut (Wilderness, 1992); this much less successful second novel features reincarnated lovers who cross paths every century. Marion Mead is a respectable middle-aged Virginia woman with two stepchildren she adores (her husband is dead). She works for the Virginia Historical Society and is also writing a novel based on a 1769 newspaper account of one Susanna Grier, who absconded from her husband Robert's plantation with a convict named Anthony. Through her research, Marion meets Raymond Lord, a rich, handsome, middle-aged bachelor with a magnificent antebellum home. Raymond appears immediately smitten with Marion (""I've been waiting for the right woman""). He offers her a journal kept by Pearl, Susanna Grier's great-granddaughter, during her 1850 voyage to Oregon to meet Frank Strickland, the man she felt destined to marry after seeing his daguerreotype. Danvers now interweaves three stories: Marion's fictional account of Susanna, Pearl's journal, and the contemporary romance between Marion and Raymond, who has both the eyes and the photographic memory she had imagined for Anthony. These coincidences don't bother her, but she does become ""deeply and inexplicably afraid"" when she finds the names of her invented characters cropping up in Pearl's journal. Challenged, Raymond comes clean: He is the latest incarnation of Anthony/Frank, just as Marion is Susanna/Pearl, and he has been waiting 143 years to tell her his story. In the closing section, Marion experiences wild mood swings as she figures out how to stand by Raymond (who is now her lover) while avoiding the grim fates of Susanna/Pearl at the hands of Anthony/Frank. A creaky narrative, a lack of feeling for historical period, and an attachment to the clichÉs of the plantation novel are the most obvious flaws of this never believable novel.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster