More than the heirloom roses defy time in this romance set on the magical Cornish coast.
Eva Ward returns to Trelowarth a broken woman. Bearing the ashes of her beloved sister, she has come back to the centuries-old house where they spent their summers to find her childhood friends, the house's current owners, struggling. In return for room, board and solace, she sets out to help them. Mark, who loved Eva's sister, wants to keep the old house a farm, where he grows rare roses. But Susan, his sister, suspects that the beautiful setting, along with the area's romantic history, would lure tourists to a tea house on the grounds. Eva, a PR expert back in Los Angeles, sets out to help Susan and, researching rumors that the estate was part smuggler's den and part anti-Hanoverian hotbed, seemingly starts dreaming herself back to 1715. Except that upon awakening, she finds herself still wearing the dressing gown the handsome Daniel Butler gave her when she showed up in his bedroom 300 years earlier. As repeated time trips deepen their romance, Eva finds herself swinging back and forth through the centuries, playing a crucial role in the lives of Trelowarth's owners in each era, before deciding where her own heart—and her fate—lie. Kearsley (Mariana, 1995, etc.) has made time travel feasible before, and here she matches it with appropriately flowery but light-handed descriptions of the rugged coast and neat summaries of 18th-century politics. It takes some temporal gymnastics to engineer happy endings for everyone—from the mysterious widow Claire to Eva's present-day suitor Oliver—but these are accomplished with some well-placed "local legends" that presage Eva's own future. Although the neat conclusion stretches credibility a bit, this colorful romance peoples both the past and present with characters worth swooning over.
A sympathetic woman becomes the heroine of her own fate, both past and present, in this winning romance.