cover image Time and Time Again

Time and Time Again

Dennis Danvers. Simon & Schuster, $21.5 (296pp) ISBN 978-0-671-78800-1

The premise of Danvers's second novel (after Wilderness)-lovers united and reunited through the centuries-has potential, but unsympathetic characters and a sluggish narration fail to ignite proper suspense or romance. Raymond Lord, who lives on a restored Virginia plantation, is or perhaps isn't the 1990s reincarnation of both Anthony Richards, 18th-century seducer and murderer of Susanna Grier, and Frank Strickland, who in the 19th century drove Susanna's great granddaughter, Pearl, to suicide. Marion Mead, who narrates, is an aspiring writer just beginning a novel about Susanna. When Raymond offers to show her Pearl's journal, Marion goes off for a weekend on the plantation and finds herself falling for ``the most beautiful man I'd ever seen.'' Even her increasing uneasiness about the reclusive and moody Raymond doesn't stop the love-struck but absurdly naive woman from taking her two young stepdaughters along for another gothically romantic weekend (Could Marion be Susanna? Does Raymond intend to murder them all?). Fans of historical romance may find the interwoven adventures of Susanna, Pearl and Marion diverting, but those hoping for spine-chilling suspense won't find it here. (Sept.)