Today on Blogcritics
Home » Books » Book Reviews » Book Review: Flirting With Forever by Gwyn Cready

Book Review: Flirting With Forever by Gwyn Cready

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Flirting With Forever features a red-head, time travel, a seventeenth century painter named Peter Lely (an actual, historical painter from the Baroque era), a nerd who is a time-jump accountant, an assistant who can handle everything, a disloyal boyfriend and one of Cinderella's evil step-sisters. It's a time-traveling romance story, full of lust and fantasy and painting. And it did teach me one valuable lesson.

Read press releases carefully.

I don't read romance novels. I try to branch out for my own edification and for the sake of Blogcritics. I'll try to be nice and all, but the facts are that this book didn't provide any edification for me and I know little about the genre aside from the silly covers that I see from time to time. So, anyway, this book is all about the things I wrote in the first paragraph. I don't mind — I might even say I enjoy — a good romance story (Aragorn, Arwen, Lord of the Rings, that kind). Nominally this story is about the "real" intimacy between a man and a woman, a level of trust that both deeply desire, a sharing of lives. There is a bit of that strewn throughout the book, but generally the characters end up exploring the physical intimacy side of things.

Flirting With Forever focuses on Campbell Stratford. She works in an art museum and, of course, is in line for a promotion. It seems she is supposed to be torn between two men, but she doesn't really have a choice to make. I mean, one's just a narcissist and the other is dead. Oh, did I mention that? Peter Lely is dead as the book begins, in the After Life which apparently employs time-jump accountants, whatever that means. Lely has to go back to his old life for a limited time to stop a writer (who turns out to be Cam) from getting research about a rival painter from his time period. She can't be allowed to reveal some aspect of this rival's life. I'm still cloudy about the point of all that. And I didn't realize that painters biographies could alter the future. I'll have to check into that.

After a sensuous afternoon encounter in his studio, Lely is compelled to give her lie regarding this rival painter, which ends up derailing her career. Out of spite, Cam starts writing a book about Lely's beloved Ursula (his near-wife from the previous life) as a prostitute. He then goes to the future to ruin her and stop the book. The book is being sold as a fictography, not a true biography, you know the type, like an Oprah-sponsored book or something. So why it would make such a big impact I couldn't imagine.

Author Gwyn Cready has a series of these time-travel romances, beginning with Seducing Mr Darcy. The concept really isn't so bad, I admit. I have not read Cready's other novels so I'm not totally grounded in her time travel mechanism and theory (and I get the distinct impression she isn't either, completely). And Cready's prose moves along at a good pace, not daring to actually drop anything poetic or pensive, but it moves the story to where it needs to go. No extra fluff in a fluffy enough book is a good thing. I admired that aspect of her writing.

I don't believe Cready is following one single character throughout her series, but that might be a good idea so as to flesh them out even more. Well, perhaps "flesh out" is a poor choice of words. To be sure, we see plenty of Cam's flesh, so to speak. Campbell Stratford could be a an interesting woman. Exposing her over a series would provide more authenticity and consistency than what's presented here.

But I think the line that lost the whole thing for me was this: "She would not forgive him for drawing her into infidelity without her acknowledged consent." Maybe that makes sense to someone out there, but I just don't get it. It's fine to be adulterous as long as you know you're being that way? That should be a law applied to everything. "Well, you're honor, yes I did know I was stealing that car." The judge replies, "Oh, well as long as you knew about it…"

But perhaps romance novels such as this are supposed to be light on character and full of sex. If you focus just on the latter I suppose you'll be satisfied. But if you skip all the explicit parts and want to focus on the better aspects of romance, well, go read Jane Austen or something.

Powered by

About Gray Hunter

  • Anna Marin

    Actually, you’re breaking the first rule of criticism, which is to judge the book against what it was intended to be. This was meant to be a romance, and it’s a damn fine one, actually. It got a blazingly good review in Entertainment Weekly, which is why I picked it up. It’s funny, intelligent and extremely romantic. I’ve already ordered Cready’s other books and would encourage romance readers out there to do the same.