Everything In Its Time by Dee Davis
(Jove, $5.99, R) ISBN 0-515-12874-0
****
Dee Davis' first novel is a delightfully intelligent story mixing the present day with fifteenth-century Scotland, offering readers a steamy love story wrapped in a beautifully interwoven plot. Time travel romance doesn't get much better than this.

Katherine St. Claire is on a group tour of Scotland after her college graduation. One night is spent at Duncreag, a castle-turned-hotel. Katherine wakes in the middle of the night and, half-asleep, passes through a door into what she thinks is the bathroom. Instead, she's in a man's bedchamber. Thinking she's dreaming, she and the handsome stranger make love, and not wanting the dream to end, she leaves him to return to her own bed. When morning arrives, Katherine finds that the door is gone, she is missing one earring, and she has a small red mark on her breast -- from her lover of the night before.

Iain Mackintosh is returning home to Duncreag in the year 1467. He's now head of the clan, his father having fallen to his death under suspicious circumstances. Arriving at the castle, he's greeted by Auntie Sorcha, as well as Alasdair Davidson and his sister Ailis, from a neighboring clan. It's soon apparent that Alasdair and Sorcha hope Ian will make a marriage with Ailis. Iain, however, has no intention of marrying. His heart was captured by a woman he knew for only a night some years ago -- and whose earring he wears in his ear as a reminder of their time together.

Iain has often felt that he could sense her presence. But the woman he loved has never shown herself. Here, at Duncreag, the feelings grow stronger.

Back in the 1990s, Katherine has the same memories. After years of dreams, she decides to return to Duncreag in hopes of putting them to rest. Urged on by her Scottish friend Elaine and accompanied by her brother, Jeff, she heads for Scotland, where back in the same bedroom, she is able to pass through the fabric of time and into Iain's life -- and arms -- again. But will she be able to escape from the treachery that awaits them?

Dee Davis hit just the right tone for this book. Scotland, with its long and mystical history, is a place where people just might slip through time. As Jeff and Elaine frantically try to unravel a cryptic note found behind a fireplace brick -- in Katherine's writing -- in hopes of rewriting history and saving her life, Katherine and Iain are busy on the other end of time falling in love and trying to forge a life together.

Katherine is a dandy heroine. Smart, willing to take risks, and also willing to believe in the possibility that she met a man from another time, once she's made her leap she rarely looks back. Iain, for his part, is the quintessential Scot. The fact that his ideal woman appears out of nowhere and from another time does little more than give him momentary pause. After all, there are fairies and witches and all sorts of mystical unexplainables, so why not a woman from another place? And the sexual chemistry between Iain and Katherine is plenty hot.

The book makes a serious stumble at the ending. Without giving it away, let's say that Katherine's reaction to a traumatic event is way overdone and completely out of character for her, to the point where I was reading in disbelief. It truly felt as though someone insisted that another twenty or so pages be added to the manuscript, because the subsequent events rambled off into nowhere and did nothing to advance or resolve the plot. The book could have ended a good thirty pages earlier and been stronger for it.

However, the first two hundred or so pages are pure delight. If time-travels are your special favorites, you're in for a big treat with Everything In Its Time. Dee Davis is a talented new voice and definitely one to watch for.

--Cathy Sova


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