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  • Writer's pictureJoan Fernandez

Dark Blue Waves

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

By Kimberly Sullivan

Oh, what incredible fun this book is to read! Jane Austin fan? Check! Time-traveling fan? Check! Romantic romance fan? Check! This lovely story elegantly braids references to art, music, poetry and architecture with a light fluidity that caused me to marvel more than once at how the obvious love the author has for 19th century culture must have propelled her research, and surely, must be personal passions. Yet the book is equally at home in the past and today’s time period. Sullivan’s subtle switching between 19th century and 21st century structure of speech in her character’s dialogue appeared effortless. Each set of characters is true to their times.

I loved how Sullivan cleverly incorporated references to Jane Austin’s work and so grounded me in this story. First, in its setting: The dual time periods take place where? Bath, of course.. Secondly, in the references to Austin’s books themselves—individual characters, romance and exploits are threaded throughout the narrative--giving color and dimension each time they’re noted. And finally, the very fact that Austin’s books have retained their popularity for two hundred years binds this story’s dual time periods together.

But perhaps the part I loved best was the wonderful mental observations the time-traveling protagonist made between the two worlds and how the 19th century’s slower pace—empty of our technological gadgets and crazed compression of time—grew on her. It’s bold to derive a story around a device like time-travel and construct the rules to make it plausible, but Sullivan has done it. What a fun ride!

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