In The Shadow Of The Moon
by Karen White, historical/time-travel (2000)
LoveSpell (Timeswept), $5.50, ISBN 0-505-52395-7

I can't imagine I left this book in the dark recesses of my TBR pile for so long. In The Shadow Of The Moon isn't perfect, but it's an interesting read.

Written in first person, this story tells about Laura Truitt who goes back in time from present day to the days of the American Civil War. Laura is depressed over the loss of her baby daughter and a few years later her husband too. After her husband's death, she returns to Magic Mountain, where her baby daughter went missing, and finds herself transported back in time.

She is found and rescued by Southern sympathizer Stuart Elliot, his nephew and the family dog, and they bring her to recuperate in Phoenix Hall, her house in the distant future. This time around, the house is owned by Stuart and his sister-in-law Julia.

Laura is now confused. What is she doing here? Could it be that her daughter is alive and well in this time period too?

Here is where things get sticky. There's a nasty time-traveler too, who just happens to be in the same time period as well to cause problem for Laura. Stuart thinks her a Northern spy, but then again, he has the hots for her too. Oh, decisions, decisions. Meanwhile, General Sherman and his troops are on a collision with them all. What is Laura going to do? Decisions, decisions.

I like ITSOTM, mainly because it's an interesting story. Laura's adaptation to the time she find herself in is well-done with enough details paid to minute lil' thingies to keep me reading. But the plot gets increasingly surreal as the story progresses, and when Laura is forced to undergo a mission to assassinate General Sherman, I give up. This story is just heh? and wacky, and not in a deliberately campy way. I also have problems with the rushed few chapters, which crams a - what? - three years or so separation between Laura and Stuart in a few paragraphs. It makes Laura look like a selfish, self-absorbed twit. Although I confessed I did shed a tear or two at Stuart's letter to his wife.

This story isn't perfect, with many flaws I can list in the plot and character development department. But I don't see the point of doing a detailed list, really, because the final product is more than enough to entertain me. I find ITSOTM a refreshingly different, very readable, and sometimes emotionally rich story, and I'll be sure to keep an eye out for this author's next book. Although I sincerely hope she doesn't take her Diana Gabaldon appreciation so far as to do a direct aping like Gabaldon's favorite fan Sara Donatti, because I still haven't finished Outlander two years after it started collecting dust on my bookshelf.

Rating: 88

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