Falling Through Glass
by Barbara Sheridan, historical/time-travel (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $6.10, ISBN 978-1-59578-586-2

The heroine of Falling Through Glass, Emiko Maeda is supposed to be twenty, but I can only wonder. This story has her behaving more like a very young girl, from her tendency to raise her voice and throw a petulant fuss when she can't get her way to her obsession with everything Japanese.

After the death of her father, Emmi is wondering what she is going to do with her life. She is not on speaking terms with both her mother and her brother. Winning a small role as an extra in a movie filmed in Japan allows her to postpone her worries a little longer. She also finds a mirror that allows her to catch a glimpse of a man in the reflection. Is that her father? At any rate, she clings to the mirror and throws mini-temper tantrums when she's separated from it.

It is in Japan that, I don't know, fate, I suppose, has had enough of this childish Japan-obsessed squeaky-faced creature and causes her to be transported back to 1864 during a storm. This leads her to Nakagawa Kaemon, a samurai. They actually saw each other through their respective mirrors earlier in the story, so surely they have a bond to each other even when politics of that time threaten to tear them apart.

I am always fascinated by feudal Japan, so by all right Falling Through Glass should be something I can happily get into. In this instance, the heroine grates on my nerves to the point that, as I turn the pages, I find myself muttering out loud, "Why isn't she dead yet?" Emmi reminds me too much of a typical female character in a Japanese cartoon: ridiculously girlish, silly, and totally annoying. There are occasional moments of unexpected sensibility from her, but on the whole, she's every annoying Japanese cartoon female character cliché wrapped up in a shiny package. Perhaps that is the point, I don't know. The hero and the subplot involving him are both interesting, but since poor Kae is saddled with Miss Thang from LA, he doesn't have much of a chance to shine.

At any rate, I do know that the heroine makes it very hard for me to get into the story. She's too young, behaves very young, and I generally prefer the characters in my romance stories to be older than this. To top it off, the book feels like a sequel to something I have not read. Details of the characters' background are in bits and pieces, and even if I try to put them together, I feel as if there are missing pieces in the puzzle. All in all, Falling Through Glass is a pretty bewildering read.

Rating: 60

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