Tuesday, September 17, 2013

REVIEW: Overseas by Beatriz Williams

Rating: 3/5 Stars
Genre: Love Story/Fantasy/Time-Travel
Audience: Adult

Summary: In modern day Manhattan, newbie Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson is mystified and intrigued when billionaire Julian Laurence begins pursuing her after little more than a passing glance. But their love story is not an easy one: Julian's pursuit blows hot and cold despite their irresistible attraction, and he also seems to be keeping secrets. Interspersed with this tale are scenes from World War I–era France, to which modern-day Kate has somehow traveled on a mission to find Captain Julian Laurence Ashford and protect her lover from the future.

Tracy's Thoughts: As regular Books News & Reviews readers may have already guessed, I've been in a bit of a reading slump of late. I've been enjoying audiobooks on my commute to and from work, but it's been difficult to find the time and focus for any pleasure reading beyond that. I've started several (print) books over the last few months, but sticking with them has been a different story. And yet I finished Overseas in two days, staying up till 2 a.m. on a work night in order to finish. Overseas isn't great literature or even particularly original, but it held my attention and made me care about the characters. I simply enjoyed it.

At times, it reminded me of Fifty Shades of Grey with less angst and a time travel twist. Overseas doesn't feature erotic sex scenes—love scenes are more in the fade-to-black tradition, though Kate and Julian's relationship is certainly passionate. Julian isn't nearly as tortured as Christian Grey, but he does have secrets. Also, the writing is better (thankfully, none of the characters have bickering conversations with their "subconscious"). So as much as I hate the habit of comparing recent reads to the latest big-hit book phenomena, the push-pull dynamic between the characters and the development of their relationship did call to mind James's trilogy.

The two entwined settings of Overseas make for a suspenseful, perfectly-paced story that answers one question only to raise another. The reader is able to piece just enough together to feel informed and invested, and yet all the the whys and wherefores remain a mystery until the perfect moment. Overseas is a charming and imminently readable love story that will likely appeal to fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Outlander, and perhaps even Fifty Shades of Grey fans who are interested in the powerful man/ordinary girl relationship dynamics but who are not necessarily looking for BDSM or erotic fiction.

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