by Susan Plunkett, historical/time-travel (2001)
LoveSpell (Timeswept), $4.99, ISBN 0-505-52434-1
Alicia's Song takes an old premise - time-travelling miserable modern woman whipping a Super Nanny Stunt out of her bum just like that as she snogs the single father from the past - and makes the whole affair even more ridiculous with obvious plot devices that go nowhere and complete contradictions within its own pages.
Alicia James and her two sisters are singing over the grave of the local witch - their mommas always taught them that everyone deserves a good sending off, you know - when magic fog envelopes them, separates them, and leaves Alicia stranded in the 19th century Wyoming.
Never mind. She finds herself a job as a governess to local mysterious gruffy hunk Caleb Marker's daughter. I have no idea how a botanist can suddenly sprout psychological pap any paperback psychologist would be in awe of, but hey, maybe she has wide reading interests. Naturally, Caleb and she fall in love and together with daughter they make a perfect family. But he Has Been Hurt Before! Can he overcome the Past Betrayal? (Oh just take a hike to Tahiti, you boring buffoon.) I expected Alicia's main problem will be worrying about her sisters, but no. After a token mention of "Where are they?" in the first few chapters, the sisters are pretty much forgotten in Alicia's custody battle with that Evil Ho Who Betrayed Caleb. Can we say "Plot device"? Of course, stories need plot device, but at least try not to make it so obvious that we are gearing up for a trilogy, will we?
Oh, and Alicia wonders how she will tell Caleb that she's from the future. Ho ho baby, judging from how she drops modern jargons before going "Hee hee hee!" all the time, I think he must be severely brain-damaged not to suspect. Likewise, our heroine has traded - lemme see - her ATM card, her pocket radio, paper clips, cell phone, shoes... to some shopkeeper in the same town she is living in for some old clothes. And she worry whether people will suspect that she is from the future? Say, that fog thingie isn't actually smoke from burning marijuana plants in the graveyard, is it?
Alicia's Song tries to be cute in a heroine that goes "Oops!" while playing Supernanny of the Saccaharine Variety at the same time that it tries to be a logical story. I just end up confused. And since the story sticks to the tried-and-true like superglue, I can't say I care that much to even try to make sense out of it.
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