cover image In Dreams Begin

In Dreams Begin

Skyler White, Berkley, $15 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-425-23695-6

This peculiar time travel romance will please realists who grump when modern heroines easily abandon their commitments and expectations once in the past, but White (And Falling, Fly) ends up treating the past as disposable instead. Lanky, soccer-playing graphic artist Laura can't remember the details of her present-day life after her spirit takes over the body of 19th-century Irish activist Maud Gonne, thanks to a spell cast by Gonne's envious lover, Ida. Nonetheless, she retains her ironic, self-doubting personality and starts up a romance with poet William Butler Yeats to satisfy her narcissistic desire for love without consequences. It's not so clear what Yeats loves about Laura. Her repeated self-justification gets old quickly, as do Ida's machinations. The thoughtful, plausible happy ending is sweet, but Laura's casual manipulation of the historical characters—who are real to themselves if not to her—leaves a bitter aftertaste. (Nov.)