Book Review: Trick of Time by J. L. Merrow

Posted: September 12, 2013 by sidlove in 3.5 Star Reviews, Book Reviews, Katinka's Reviews
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Reviewed by Katinka

Trick of TimeTITLE: Trick of Time
AUTHOR: J. L. Merrow
PUBLISHER: Carina Press
LENGTH: 27000 words
BLURB: A lover from another time

When Ted Ennis steps out the doors of the Criterion Theatre for a cigarette and finds himself in Victorian London, he begins to doubt his sanity. At first he thinks it’s all a film set, and is sure that the strikingly handsome young man leaning against a lamppost must be the leading man…

What starts as a sordid transaction with a beautiful rent boy quickly turns into something much deeper, drawing him back again and again as he gets to know Jem and craves meaningful encounters with him.

But Ted doesn’t understand the exact conditions necessary for his trips through time—and for Jem, time may actually be running out. Now Ted has one last shot to get back to Jem and save their relationship, before it’s too late…


Question: you step out of your house one day to go to work and..WHAM..suddenly find yourself in 19th century Victorian London. Astonished, you suck the grime, dirt and decay into your lungs and then…you lock eyes with a pretty boy who casually leans against a lamppost. He’s a prostitute and it shows.

Now would you or wouldn’t you get your freak on with him?

I have to say, knowledge can be a bitch. I confess to being somewhat of a history nut and thus can’t help associating Victorian rent boys with filth, lice, fleas, Syphilis and Gonorrhea. Victorian fashion may ignite romantic fantasies, in reality a large number of the London population bit the dust before even turning 30, among other reasons due to outbreaks of cholera, smallpox, typhoid and scarlet fever. What’s amusing, is that physicians back then apparently considered STD ridden prostitutes a blessing. They believed that Syphilis was “inflicted by the Almighty to act as a restraint upon the indulgence of evil passions”. So yes, I personally find it a little difficult to indulge in the idea of smutting it up with a Victorian prostitute.

Luckily, Ted Ennis has no such objections! More than a year ago, his husband and parents got killed in a car crash that left him with a permanent head injury and slurred speech. A family friend landed him a job as a jack of all trades at a London theater. Ted’s still in the process of trying to bounce back when he — much as in the case I described above — steps out of the theater on his cigarette break and finds himself in….Victorian London. In case you were wondering…… YES, he does get his freak on in what you can only call a school example of instant love. A rent boy leads him through a labyrinth of dirty, dark alleys, gets on his knees and….Ted’s been done for (if he wasn’t already). When he heads back to the theater and to our modern world, he realizes that his life cannot ever be the same again.

He has to see his historical lover again.

This being a novella, I decided to keep my review reasonably short (my kinda short anyway :p). A Trick of Time is a sweet, gentle romance with a hint of suspense and the time travel element to spice things up. Merrow has a pleasant writing style and paces her story well. I found myself rooting for Ted and his prostitute and had no troubling whatsoever finishing this book in a few hours.

On the other hand, this one was nowhere near as clever or quirky as Merrow’s other book; Muscling Through, which really put her on the map for me. If you haven’t read that one already, please make sure to check it out! Trick of Time was very much a middle of the road romance, and a somewhat shallow one at that. So if you enjoy picking your books apart and analyzing the author’s decisions, this one will leave you unsatisfied. Quite a few questions remain unanswered. The odd time travel thing and how it all played out will raise an eyebrow or two. Same with how the rent boy’s harsh life apparently doesn’t stop him from hopping onto the instant love train and taking all Ted’s crazy ass stories and his obvious handicap for granted. Then there’s the fact that this story is too short to allow Victorian London to come alive. Something that applies to the MC’s as well.

And yet, if you’re ready to leave your criticism at the door there’s a lot to enjoy about this cute piece of historical fiction with time-crossed lovers. I would therefore definitely recommend it as an uncomplicated feel good read in between your ‘larger meals’.

Katinka gives it: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

BUY LINK: All Romance eBooks

  1. shelley says:

    Awesome review Kat! Your reminder of Victorian hygiene made me itch – but you raise a very valid point and I recall now why I don’t read historical anymore;)

  2. jmoswisdom says:

    I really enjoy your reviews!! Thank you!

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