A Love Beyond Time
by Judie Aitken, historical/time-travel (2000)
Jove (Time Passages), $5.99, ISBN 0-515-12744-2


A Love Beyond Time is a surprise find. It has been languishing on my TBR pile for so long, which is so wrong. It's a pretty good story.

Ryan Burke is the newest member at the archaeological dig at Little Big Horn. It's 1999, by the way, and don't worry, Ryan doesn't dig, she just collects the oral history of the people of the lands. Bad enough that the Lakota tribes that live at the settlement are amassing for protests and lawsuits, but Ryan is getting rather creeped by her sometimes nasty, always weird boss' behavior.

Meanwhile, Dillon Wolf is your Lakota superstud, superlawyer, and superpolitician in the making. He is linked to Ryan according to his grandfather's knowing shaman wisdom... you know, he knows even if Ryan and his grandson never even met each other yet. (Okay, all will be made clear later in the story.) When Grandpa sends Ryan back in time the same time as Dillon slips in a coma as a result of a traffic accident, things get funny. (And don't ask - it's a long story, and I don't know how to explain things without giving everything away. I'll just say that Grandpa and some Good Guys who want to trap the baddie have a plan, which involves Ryan traveling back in time to bury some things that... oh, just read the book.)

In 1876, right before the Battle of Little Big Horn, she awakes in the tepee of one Wolf... ohmigod, is it Wolf Dillon? No, wait... he's another Wolf. Is he?

Okay, there's the usual Wise Shaman Geezer who will claim that Ryan is a gift from the gods for Wolf (marry, marry, marry - how else can our hero and heroine have sex, because come on, we are talking about Noble, Moral People here!), the sole Evil Psycho Dude who will hate our hero and lust after his woman, the Other Woman who hatches nasty plots to get her hands on the hero, and of course, the nice couple who will take our heroine in and be her friends. It's a "been there, done that" thing where the romance is concerned.

But I'm hooked because the author can tell a good story. Plot twists and all, while not all are spectacular, just come and suck me in. "Oh, will he die? Will she die? Will everybody die?" I mutter as I just have to keep turning the pages. Hubby yelled from the TV room, "Hey, Survivor Africa is on, and there are many shirtless guys and gals wearing little, oi!"

Come on, of all the guys on Survivor Africa, I'd only wish to see that Ethan guy and the dim but strapped Clarence naked. If I see that old farmer guy's butt crack again... "Set the video, set the video!" I called back. "I have to finish this book!"

"But we're already taping Angel, remember?"

Ooh... shirtless Ethan... A Love Beyond Time... shirtless Ethan...

"I have to read this book!" I called.

"Your loss!"

"Just describe to me how good Ethan looks shirtless later."

"NO WAY!"

Only later, I realized I could've just put down the book, watch the show, and continue reading later. Duh! Ugh! One hard slap on the forehead.

Or maybe not. I really can't put down this book. I like Ryan, who is a heroine with intelligence, brass, and guts. Wolf may be a typical Noble Savage stereotype - despite the author's wink-wink joke about Noble Savage fantasies early in the book - but he has some rather powerfully emotional scenes with Ryan late in the story when war sweeps the land. So bye, bye, Shirtless Ethan, there's always the next episode... as long as you don't get voted out, that is. (Hey Mark Burnett, maybe you can have the next Survivor at my place.)

Rating: 87


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