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Friday, April 20, 2018

Light Time Travel Romance Surprisingly Enjoyable

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note:  Although this review will not contain spoilers for Outshine, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier House of Oak novels.  Outshine may be read as a standalone, but I still recommend (as always) reading books in a series in order.

Despite the fact that he has chosen to live in the 1800s, there are definitely things Daniel Ashton misses about the 21st Century.  Right now, for instance, he'd do anything for access to a computer.  If only he had a laptop handy, he could solve the impossible mathematical conundrum he believes will fix the time machine at Duir Cottage.  With the contraption on the fritz, Daniel's unable to use it for his own desperate mission.  The health of a dear friend is also at risk.  Something must be done—and fast.  

At 32, Fossi Lovejoy has given up hoping for happily ever after.  Obsessed with mathematics, she's too odd, too awkward, to get on with anyone, even her own siblings.  Besides, as she well knows, "No person in England [is] more unmarriagable than a plain, aging, poor, clever woman."  Unappealing though she may be, Fossi refuses to play the shrinking violet, so when someone publishes one of her secret mathematical theorems she doesn't hesitate to confront him.  She's shocked when Lord Whitmoor (aka Daniel Ashton) not only admires her intellect, but also asks for her help.  When he makes her an offer she can't refuse, she doesn't.  Although Fossi isn't sure exactly what she's doing for Lord Whitmoor, she's intrigued by the process.  And by the man himself. 

As Fossi attempts to solve a puzzling mathematics problem, she's forced to confront an even more tangled dilemma—the state of her fragile heart.  Has she really found the love of her midlife or is Daniel just using her for her math skills?  Can she find the answers he's seeking and what will it mean if she does?  If Daniel returns to the future, where will that leave Fossi?  As one of the most brilliant women alive, she should have been smart enough not to fall in love ...

After finding Nichole Van's Brothers Maledetti series too tedious to be enjoyable, I wasn't keen on reading another book by the author.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself totally engaged in Outshine.  The characters sparkle, the setting feels authentic, and the story line doesn't drag at all.  While there's nothing super original about the novel, it still makes for an absorbing, engrossing read.  Although Outshine is the fifth book in the House of Oak series, I didn't feel adrift in the tale.  Overall, then, I liked it quite a lot.  I'm not planning to read the previous books, but I've heard they're actually better than this one, so if you're into light, upbeat time travel romance novels, give these a go.  The other books in the series are likely to be just as fun as this one, if not more so.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the House of Oak series by Nichole Van, including Intertwine; Divine; Clandestine; and Refine


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and vague references to prostitution

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-copy of Outshine from the generous folks at Fiorenza Publishing via those at The Whitney Awards.  Thank you!


  1. What a pleasant surprise! Very nice when that happens.

  2. I'm glad you liked this one. It's always nice when something surprises you!

  3. I love time travel and have been wanting to read Nichole Van's books for the longest time. I've not heard of this one though.


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