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Perfect Timing
by Catherine Anderson
(Signet, $7.99, PG) ISBN 978-0451-23948-8
***
Fans of Catherine Anderson’s Harrigan family novels will greatly enjoy this one while fans of time travel will get something out of it too. It is a little sentimental, as only Catherine Anderson can do, but it is a good story that should entertain. The only distraction is that it slows a bit, with nothing going on in the center of the story. It picked up and ended well, thus allowing me to give it a three heart rating.

Quincy Harrigan is the only one left unmarried. His three brothers and one sister have all found love with people who complete them. Even his father has remarried and is madly in love with his second wife. But tragedy is ready to strike the Harrigan clan because Clint’s wife Loni has leukemia and may die.

Ceara O’Ceallaigh is from County Cork in Ireland. She lands, literally, in Quincy’s stable one night on a mission. She is from the fifteenth century, is Druid and has come to marry Quincy to break a curse set upon the “O’Hourigans” lo those many years ago. The first brides of the men of the family will perish by a blood disease or from the loss of blood. This has been true, although no one really put the pattern together until confronted with this lovely red-haired lass with a wild story.

First Quincy doesn’t believe her and has her arrested for breaking and entering. But when Loni gets worse, family pressure and Loni’s “sight” convinces him that Ceara is the real deal; and he realizes that he can’t be the one to refuse a possible cure for her. They convince a Catholic priest to marry them, and it is clear that once they consummate the marriage, Loni gets better. This first section of the story is wonderfully well-written, engaging and delightful even for someone who is not generally a fan of time travel stories.

Much of the next large portion of the book details how Ceara and Quincy cope now that they are married and that Ceara has so much to learn about the world. There are some funny scenes and some poignant ones. This plotline is engaging for a good while, with all the Harrigans from previous stories playing a role. Discovering the modern day conveniences is fun at first but there is a bit too many details at times. There is a whole section on discovering the wonders of the modern woman and her freedom around sex that is often cute. But after a while, the whole plotline also gets a bit old and the story bogs down a bit.

There is a sentimentally charged ending that is best left for the reader to discover, but suffice it to say that Catherine Anderson knows how to pull at the heart strings and she does it better than most. Fans of Anderson will like this while those who are not fans may feel it is a bit too much. For me, it was the right mix of fantasy with reality and kept me glued to the pages to finish the story.

Perfect Timing is not perfect but it is a delightful story for fans of Catherine Anderson and time travel.

--Shirley Lyons


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