With a thriving business and a stalled personal life, Shelby Manning never figured her life was any worse--or better--than the norm. Then a late-night stroll through a Civil War battlefield park led her to a most intriguing stranger. Bloody, confused, and dressed in Union blue, he insisted he had just come from the Battle of Fredericksburg--more than one hundred years in the past.
Maybe Shelby should have dismissed Carter Lindsey as crazy--just another history reenactor taking his game a little too seriously. But there was something compelling in the pull of his eyes, something special in his tender touch. And before she knew it, Shelby found herself swept into a passion like none she'd ever known and willing to defy time itself to keep Carter at her side.
I picked this book up for two reasons. First, I like time travel books and there aren't many I've read during this time period. Second, it takes place in Fredericksburg, Virginia, which is where I live. I'm glad I did, because it was a very well done book.
When Shelby stumbled across Carter on the battlefield park grounds she couldn't just leave him there. She was especially concerned by his apparent mental confusion about where/when he was, so she took him home with her. She then makes sure he gets medical attention and against her boyfriend's recommendation, brings him back to her house after he's released from the hospital. Though she is a little concerned for herself, there's something about him that makes her want to help him.
Carter doesn't know what happened. One moment he's on the battlefield, wishing he were anywhere else, the next he's in a place both familiar and vastly different. He's grateful for the young woman who has rescued him.
I loved how real all the characters felt to me. Shelby's a kindhearted person who can't stand the idea of leaving Carter alone and confused. I really enjoyed that she's a bookstore owner and has a pretty ordinary life. It's not surprising that she doesn't believe Carter's story of being a Union soldier. I really liked that it didn't stop her from helping him. I also liked the way that she stood up to her obnoxious boyfriend when he got so nasty about Carter staying at her house. I thought that Carter was amazingly calm about what had happened to him. He did get pretty vehement about not going to the hospital, but considering what Civil War hospitals were like, it's not surprising. I loved his curiosity about everything around him.
The romance between Shelby and Carter was a slow growing one as they got to know each other. Shelby saw the differences between Carter and her boyfriend, Rory, and realized that she deserved more than she was getting. She also slowly began to accept that Carter was telling the truth. I loved seeing the way that Carter treated her. He was so sweet, but also very protective. I also liked his sense of honor, that made him hold back because of his marriage. I also liked the similarities that were shown between Rory and Carter's wife Meg, both in their attitudes and their actions. It made the ending even more satisfying.
The time travel itself was really good. The trouble that Shelby had believing it was logical. I enjoyed the gradual growing of her belief, and the final confirmation that really blew her away. Carter's reactions to things like riding in a car were fun to see. His description of the Battle of Fredericksburg was incredibly vivid and moving, as was what he said about the day to day life of a soldier. The investigation they did in trying to find any descendants of Carter's was interesting, especially with what they found out.
The only complaint I have is that I would have liked to see more of what happened after Carter rescued Shelby from the fire. I wanted to see Carter's reaction to what she found out, if they found the jewels, and if Rory had to face consequences for what he did. Oh yeah - the cover is awful, but typical of when the book was published...