Torie Mills is beautiful, successful and a New York Times best-selling historical romance author. Determined to find some solace from her fast paced and demanding life, she decides to move to Mahaska County, Iowa—a mile outside of the tiny town of Fremont and into her great-great-grandparent’s old homestead. Her plan is to restore the property to its 1870 glory days. She hires handsome, renovation expert Dave Cameron to do the work and together they bring the old Victorian house back to life. When Torie moves in, she discovers that restoring the house has opened a portal into the past. Time traveling each night to the Fremont of old, becomes her wonderful escape and her secret obsession. When she and Dave become lovers, he gets swept into the travels as well—until they both realize, much too late, that there was evil in the past that would have been better left alone…
I love time traveler books and perhaps my favorite is the Time Traveler’s Wife, so I was very curious about Dana Roquet’s novel Out of the Past. It has an unusual twist in that the couple both live in the present day, but while they sleep they slip into the past lives of those from the same small town in Mahaska County, Iowa. The tale is filled with romance, touching moments, memories of the past and hidden danger. I easily consumed this engaging tale in a single afternoon and look forward to reading the next book in this series.
We meet protagonist Torie Mills, a New York Times best-selling historical romance author as she arrives in Mahaska County, Iowa to a homestead she has recently purchased outside of Fremont. Torie bought her great-great grandmother’s home and plans to reform it to its 1870 glory. She befriends her renovation expert Dave Cameron and together they prepare her new home. When Torie moves in she discovers that she slips back in time as she sleeps and at first she is excited but as her romantic life becomes complicated, she begins to worry about what is happening to her as she sleeps. The tale that unfolded had many threads that took me on an emotional ride from laughter, to tears, to fear.
I connected with Torie immediately; she is funny, a writer and loves family history. Her passion for history and renovations quickly drew me into the tale. She is confident, successful and genuine; however her love life is a mess. She has commitment issues and is currently in the longest relationship of her life with a man I thought was shallow and cold. Dave Cameron on the other hand oozes smexy without even trying. He loves small town life and has had trouble finding a mate who embraces this small-town lifestyle They are both initially attracted to each other both physical and intellectual but respect that Torie is in a relationship. The romance was predictable, but felt genuine and sweet. Along the way we meet family from their pasts through time-travel and we meet an aspiring young author suffering from cancer who touched my heart.
The time-travel aspect of this romance was fascinating as the author slowly raised questions and concerns that make us fearful as she builds towards climatic scenes weaving paranormal elements into this contemporary romance. Each time Torie time-travels she finds herself in another family member, experiencing what they experienced and I found it fascinating. When Dave spends the night he begins time-traveling and it led to some interesting slides involving them both. The author cleverly adds sinister elements to the travel and gave us some hair-raising moments. Wonderfully paced, the paranormal elements added some mystery to an otherwise sweet and predictable romance. There is some heat and it was passionate and sweet.
If you are looking for a sweet small-town contemporary romance with a paranormal twist then Out of the Past is the perfect book. Other readers agree as this tale has been in the top one-hundred on Amazon for over three months.
Three and half cups of French vanilla coffee out of five
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