The play’s the thing… – William Shakespeare
In contemporary times, Ted Ennis endures. He understands loss better than most. Ted has borne a terrible, terrible grief, the result of a deadly accident that has left its share of scars behind. Plagued by the physical remnants of that accident, his employment options limited by his afflictions, Ted now works at the Criterion Theatre, thanks to the kindness of a friend. It is at the Cri, where the play “Wild Oats” is in production, that Ted’s life takes a turn toward the inconceivable, as he steps out for a cigarette and steps into the year 1886 and directly into Jem Pocket’s arms.
Jem is a whore by necessity, compassionate by nature, and accepting well beyond the limitations of the century in which he resides. His connection with Ted is immediate and intense, their affair beginning amidst the incredible odds against them, the futility of their situation compounded by the fact that Ted’s presence in the past may have already altered the future. It’s a conundrum, for sure, but like with any problem where love is involved, it seems there’s always a way.
Why is it that every time I finish a JL Merrow book, it seems the first thing I think is, oooh, I hope there’s a sequel, and that I think that whether there needs to be one or not? Trick of Time doesn’t need a sequel, I just want one.
Part of my fixation with this one has not only a lot to do with the fact that I loved Ted and Jem but also with the fact that it combined a couple of my extra-super-special-obsessiony-fangirl plot devices: time travel and rentboys. Oh, and it was set part of the time in the Victorian Era, so there’s that fetish too. It was the perfect fusion of so many of my favorite fictional brain-foods that it pretty well couldn’t miss.
It’s a story of the impossible wrapped in a romance of the improbable, and I loved every word of it.