Amanda is a young, suddenly out-of-work photographer, who drags her best friend along on a tour of historical homes. Like any good photographer, her quest to capture the perfect moment takes her away from the group and into the off-limits areas upstairs. It is there that she slips through into the past, landing her in the late 1900s, where her presence – and her camera – land her in a difficult situation.
Overall, Hostage in Time is a warm-and-fuzzy time-travel romance, very much in the spirit of Richard Matheson’s Somewhere in Time. The historical elements are clearly well-researched and woven naturally into the story. There’s no attempt to dazzle the reader with details, and none of the annoying info-dumping that so often plagues time travel stories. Instead, Linda simply grounds us in the past, occasionally reminding us of the 125 years separating us from Amanda, but doesn’t belabour the point.
Romantically, this is a wonderful story, and one that develops slowly, but which hooks you with the romantic potential early on. Watching Amanda attempt to not only fit in, but befriend the suspicious Jonathan, you can’t help but wish for them to realise what’s blossoming between them. The story takes a bit of a darker twist when they’re set-up for treason but, as is often the case, it’s this added adversity that finally brings them together.
This is also a very spiritual book, in terms of the human spirit and our connection to one another at the deepest, most primal level. When Linda does reminds us of years that have passed, it’s less to trumpet the advancements and inventions that most time-travel stories focus upon, but to reinforce the notion that people are people, whenever and wherever they may be. As a sceptic, I was afraid that having the would-be-lovers visit a spiritual medium to understand their destiny would pull me out of the story, but the sincerity with which Linda writes kept me engaged.
I won't spoil the ending, other than to say it is the epitome of happily-ever-after, but I will say I appreciated the brief epilogue. Carrie's role in the story added a much-needed bit of humour and sentiment to the story, and I think her final scene is probably one of my favourite.