GUEST POST by teachergirl73
- Title: A Portal In Time
- Author: Claire Fullerton
- ISBN: 0989063224 (ISBN13: 9780989063227)
- Series: Stand Alone
- Published: November 30th 2013 by Vinspire Publishing, LLC
- Format: eBook
- Genre: Paranormal Romance
- Page Count: 198
- Rating: C-
- Source: Tour Operator
When we are inexplicably drawn to love and a particular place, is it coincidence, or have we loved before?
Enigmatic and spirited Anna Lucera is gifted with an uncanny sixth-sense and is intrigued by all things mystical. When her green, cat-eyes and long, black hair capture the attention of a young lawyer named Kevin Townsend, a romance ensues which leads them to the hauntingly beautiful region of California’s Carmel-By-The-Sea where Anna is intuitively drawn to the Madiera Hotel. Everything about the hotel and Carmel-By-The-Sea heightens her senses and speaks to Anna as if she had been there before.
As Anna’s memory unravels the puzzle, she is drawn into a past that’s eerily familiar and a life she just may have lived before.
I’ve always enjoyed stories that involve past lives. I think that I was hooked after watching the 1991 movie “Dead Again” with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson about two people who seem to be headed down the same ill-fated path of love, passion and ultimately betrayal, as a long dead couple from 50 years before.
Then my BFF introduced me to Susanna Kearsley’s books. After reading the first few books in the Outlander series, I was in a desperate need for something that would fill the void (as all Outlander fans well know) as I waited for the next book in the series to be published. If you’ve never picked up one of Kearsley’s books, run, do not walk to your nearest bookstore and get one! I have so far not read another author who dabbles in the area of past lives better than Kearsley. In almost all of her books, there is some connection to the past and present, whether it is through the setting of a place, or through ancestry and where inevitably there is some unfinished business to be resolved. Kearsley does a superb job of developing the characters of both the past and present, as well as the setting and location of the story, which always makes me want to hop on a plane and go there straight away. Kearsley masterfully establishes the conflict to be resolved and how the characters in the present are inextricably connected to those of the past.
I was so hoping to find a similar type of satisfaction when I started to read A Portal in Time by Claire Fullerton, but unfortunately that did not happen. As I started reading A Portal In Time, I began to feel my inner editor come alive (a side effect of teaching English to middle-schoolers for the past 14 or so years) and unfortunately when that happens, chances are the story loses me and all I can see are the errors in the writing. When writing a narrative, a writer really should have the following essential elements in order to be successful : 1) well-developed characters, 2) a descriptive setting, 3) a problem or conflict that must be resolved, 4) a plot that builds action, and 5) a theme which essentially is the message that the author is trying to convey throughout the story to its readers. If you want more elaboration, check out this link for a very cool way to teach the elements of a story:
Don’t worry, I’m not going to subject you to an English lesson, but I really feel like this story had great potential, however it fell short on few of these essential elements and as a result, the story really did not work. Fullerton‘s story about two couples in different times but in the same place had a promising start. In the prologue, Fullerton sets up an air of a dark, even haunting mystery that made me want to read on.
Sadly, it became fairly clear early on, that the prologue was the best part of the story. I kept waiting for the characters and plot to develop into the whatever dark and mysterious problem that was hinted at in the beginning of the story, but that never really came to pass. In the end it wasn’t until pg.164 of 196, that we start to see the connection between the characters of the past and of the present, and then a few more pages along on p.186, the problem finally becomes clear.
Unfortunately, by this point in the story, I was no longer interested in the problem, and really just frustrated in wading through a lot of irrelevant details. At one point the couple in the present are discussing the power of crystals, and it really was just hokey. I later learned that Fullerton was trying to use the crystals as a plot device, but for me, it was just another point of frustration. The bulk of the story was spent trying to show how the two couples fell in love, and neither love story felt very compelling to me. There was no build up of tension between the characters and too much time was spent on superfluous details in the construction of both the past and present storylines. As for a theme, it was non-existent.
The one element that I think that Fullerton successfully established was in her description of Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, where both stories primarily take place. Based on her details about the area, it sounds like a beautiful place to visit along the California coastline.
About the Author
Claire Fullerton is the author of Paranormal/Historical Romance, “A Portal in Time.” Her second novel, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, will be published in March, 2015. Claire is a contributor to numerous magazines as well as a multiple contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series. She is a multiple award winning essayist, a former major-market radio disc jockey, and an avid ballet dancer. Claire hails from Memphis, Tennessee, and currently divides her time between Malibu and Carmel, California with her husband and two German shepherds!