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04 June 2014 @ 05:27 pm
holiday and reading  
I have survived the canal boat holiday, but at the moment I'm not feeling any inclination to repeat the experience. If I ever do, I will squeeze into the understairs cupboard with both children, try to dress us all in our waterproof gear inside the cupboard, and we can all stand under the cold shower for four or five hours until the urge goes away. Starting at 3.11 in the morning.

However, I did find time to do a bit of reading on the boat, and finally got around to:

Time for Tea by Erica Smith (aka our own [personal profile] hedda62)

This was wonderful, and I'm not just saying that because Hedda is lovely. This was sufficiently wonderful that, after a day of hard labour in the pouring rain from about 4am till 8pm, I voluntarily stayed awake for two hours to finish it. Intrigue, romance and time travel adventures, with prose and dialogue that you know is going to be gorgeous if you've ever read any of her fanfic. It's a bit slow to start, with a lot of people talking - in a delightful manner, but mostly talking - for the first couple of chapters, but once they start time travelling the plot speeds right up and doesn't slow down again (hence the staying up late after a hard day's, um, holidaying). The historical settings look well-researched, there's a lot of wonderful music geekery, and I love all the details about how time travellers prepare for what they're doing, and their support staff and the business of time travel. Which looks like it's also going to be the source of much of the intrigue, as the series progresses.

The story is about Olivia Lake, whose husband went on a time jump and never came back. Olivia starts work as a time traveller with the private intention of figuring out what happened to him, and is sent on an assignment for a wealthy tea enthusiast to retrieve some of the tea that was thrown into Boston harbour. But her partner on this assignment is the mysterious and attractive George Merrill, and it starts to become clear that what has happened to her husband is a lot more complicated than she expected. The book straddles genres, being SF, historical and romance, and the SF aspects are well-thought-out, the history is handled beautifully, but if you pushed me I'd label it a romance foremost: the heart of the story is all about Olivia's relationships with her husband and with George. And I love the way it's done. Olivia's relationship with her husband is so delicately sketched out, in silences and inferences and descriptions of paintings and deductions from her interactions with other characters, nothing obvious or straightforward, and I love how it contrasts with her growing relationship with George. Who is indeed a most excellent romantic hero somewhat in the Lord Peter Wimsey mould. And I'm desperate to know what happens next, but waiting on the paper copy of Time and Fevers arriving. The post is far too slow!

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/115748.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
shimotsuki: booksshimotsuki on June 10th, 2014 02:30 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're back more or less in one piece! Just starting from the thought "canal boating with a toddler" already has me about palpitating, and that's without even being able to imagine what Philomythulus might get up to on a canal boat.

hedda62's series sounds most intriguing! I may well have to take a look, now that summer is here and I get evenings and weekends back again.
philomytha: Beam me upphilomytha on June 12th, 2014 04:42 pm (UTC)
Hedda has some sample chapters on her website if you want a taster: http://ericahsmith.wordpress.com/

And yeah, still recovering from the holiday here. We deliberately did it during half term on the understanding that the following week he'd be back to school and therefore I would have a chance to catch my breath. Though with a toddler underfoot there's not that much chance for rest. What's amazing to me is that people live on canal boats and raise families on them, all year around.
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