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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Time Traveler's Wife-ish Romance a Long, Dull Slog

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Claire Raythorn is a YouTube sensation.  And not in a good way.  Having witnessed her filmed reaction to the most humiliating moment in her life, the whole world seems to be laughing at Claire.  Humiliated by the video and grieving her beloved Grammy, the 28-year-old is determined to rebuild not just her life but also her reputation.  With that goal firmly in mind, she arrives in Italy ready to take on a challenging new work project. emotionally draining as the past little while has been for Claire, she hasn't suffered any kind of mental breakdown.  Not that she knows of, anyway.  So why is she seeing a Mr. Darcy-like man in the background of every photo she takes in Florence?  She knows he's not really there.  What is he, then?  A ghost?  A figment of her imagination?  An obvious sign that she should check herself into the nearest mental hospital?

The last person she expects to help explain the inexplicable is Dante D'Angelo, an Italian colleague and competitor.  He might be undeniably gorgeous, but he's also a hack.  Claire wants nothing to do with him, so why is she so drawn to the enigmatic Italian?  And why does he believe her Mr. Darcy visions are not just legitimate, but also important?  Who is Dante, really?  What does he know about the strange things that are happening to Claire?  Most importantly, how does he explain the fierce—almost unearthly—attraction they feel toward one another?  Unbeknownst to Claire, theirs is a love story two hundred years in the making ...

Gladly Beyond, the first book in a new trilogy by Nichole Van, is not the sort of book I would have picked up all on my own.  Soulmates-searching-for-each-other-repeatedly-throughout-time stories are a dime a dozen and not really my bag.  However, since I needed to read the book's sequel for the Whitney Awards, I decided to give Gladly Beyond a go first.  Spoiler alert: I shouldn't have bothered.  For one thing, I didn't care at all for Claire.  I can't quite put my finger on why, but I really didn't give a fig about her.  That made it difficult to care about the story, which is looonnnggggg.  Way too long.  Melodramatic and clunky, it makes for a dull, endless slog.  If I hadn't been planning to read its sequel, I wouldn't have made it past the first couple chapters of Gladly Beyond.  It just did not capture my fancy at all.  That being said, I liked Van's voice and overall writing style.  This particular story, though, was way too loquacious, way too generic, way too forgettable.  Although I liked its sequel much better, I never would have picked it up based on Gladly Beyond.  Sad but true.

(Readalikes:  Love's Shadow by Nichole Van; also reminds me of Transcendence by C.J. Omololu; The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger; and the t.v. show DC Legends of Tomorrow)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

 for mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought an e-copy of Gladly Beyond from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha. 


  1. I read Intertwine by Van and thought it was a fun read, but I think I'll be passing on this one! Who needs long and dull? :D

    1. I've heard that series is better than this one. I'm not planning to read it, though. I'm also not reading the last book in this trilogy -- I just don't care enough to spend more time on it :(

    2. There are plenty of books out there that are better! Why waste your time on the not-so-good ones?

  2. Long and boring do not go together. And I know know it's hard to write anything original these days but just cause you're telling the same story as someone else, doesn't mean it has to be same ol' same ol'. Sigh!

  3. This sounds like something I would be drawn to but long and clunky are not my bag! Sorry this didn't work for you.


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