by: Elyse Douglas
Published by:Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Genres:Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Format: Mobi (Kindle file)
30-year-old Eve Sharland is browsing a Pennsylvania antiques store when she discovers an old brass lantern tucked away on a shelf. She lifts it and sees something behind one of the sooty glass panes. To her surprise, she finds an unopened letter stuck inside. The letter is postmarked December 24, 1885, and it is addressed to Evelyn Sharland in New York City. Eve gasps and drops the letter. That's her name! The letter is addressed to someone with her name in 1885: Evelyn Sharland. Eve purchases the lantern and the letter, and returns to her New York City apartment. Later that evening, she opens the letter and reads it, astounded by its contents. She stares at the lantern in wonder and alarm, deeply moved by the story of a tragic romance. A few days later, following a request in the letter, Eve cautiously lights the lantern. To her utter shock, she finds herself in the past-in 1885 New York City. Eve is thrown into a life far beyond what she could have ever imagined, as she gets involved with one of the richest families in New York City, and meets the handsome Patrick Gantly. She must struggle to survive and return to her own time, even as her destiny is changed forever.
Eve Sharland is just coming out a messy divorce, when she finds a touching love letter inside a lantern . She is startled to realize that the person the letter is addressed to has the same name as her. She discovers the lantern can propel her to 1885 New York city. She also realizes that she may be there to change the past. She struggles in eighteenth century to fit in and find her way home.
Ever since I saw the movie’ Somewhere in Time’ as a child, I have been intrigued by the idea of time travel. Especially, time travel with romance woven in. So I was really excited to read ‘ The Christmas Eve Letter’.
The descriptions of ninth century New York was vivid and very well researched. One thing that is not realized in some novels is that speech and slang terms were different in the past and those things were definitely addressed in this story.
I liked the character of Eve. She seemed like a genuine twentieth century women. Very much independent but not without faults. Her love interest sub-plot with Patrick added more depth and emotion to the storyline. I flew through reading this book as I constantly wanted to find out what was going to happen to Eve next.
I did feel that there were a few inconsistencies in the book. For example, when Eve is told by her father that Evelyn is her great-grandmother’s sister and then later in the book Evelyn says she doesn’t have a sister. Also, then Evelyn and Eve wouldn’t have the same name last name. (Her great-grandmother’s last name would have changed when she married.) I was confused if these inconsistencies were intentional or not. I also would have liked a bit more of a wrap-up in the ending.
I really did love this book. It was detailed and well researched. It held my interest throughout the story. ‘The Christmas Eve Letter’ is a wonderful time travel book and one of my favorite books of the year.
At 20th Street, Eve glanced over her shoulder and she saw him! Yes, there he was. He swiftly ducked away toward a parked carriage, where a horse was drinking from a quaint-looking water trough near the curb. Her follower snapped out a newspaper and began to read, or at least he pretended to read.
Eve looked about at the trees and the lovely brownstones. Nearby was the open campus of the Theological Seminary and a home for retired nuns. In this neighborhood, she felt safe enough to approach him. She lowered her chin, fortified herself with breath, pivoted and started toward the man in the dark suit, black overcoat and bowler hat.
When she was ten feet away, he lifted the newspaper higher to cover his face and shoulders. Eve advanced, nerves beating away at her.
“Excuse me, sir.”
He didn’t stir.
“Sir, excuse me.”
The paper slid down slowly, and he straightened to his full height. Eve was startled by him. He was taller than she’d expected, clearly five inches taller than she. He had vivid, intelligent blue eyes, a fine handsome face with a heavy shadow of a beard, a prominent nose, a solid, determined jaw and full lips—fantastic lips—that she had difficulty pulling her eyes away from. He had a broad chest, a muscular neck and good athletic shoulders.
He stared at her as though he were about to smile, and that made him appear affable, cocky and sexy.
“Are you addressing me, madam?” he asked.
Eve detected an accent. Irish? He did look Irish, with his dark, curly hair sticking out from beneath his hat.
Eve swallowed, stepping back a little. “Yes, I am addressing you.”
He shrugged and looked resigned. “Okay, then, what can I do for you? Are you lost? Looking for a place of business or a shop?”
She liked his voice. It had a sing-song baritone quality to it. It was a confident voice, a resonant, masculine voice.
Eve stood there, confused now. Was this the same guy she’d seen from the back in Helen Price’s parlor?
She stammered. “Well, I… Well I just thought that maybe you…” She stopped, hearing her shaky voice and suddenly feeling foolish.
“Yes, madam? You thought?”
Eve lifted her chin and decided to go for it. “Have you been following me?”
The left corner of his mouth lifted. Was that a grin or a sneer? Eve couldn’t tell.
“You are a bold woman,” he said.
“Bold or not, that doesn’t answer my question.”
“And a direct one. My grandfather used to say, ‘It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead the rest of your life.’”
“And what does that mean?”
“It means you’re not a coward, but maybe you should be sometimes. Walking up to a stranger on a public street to ask him whether he’s following you may not be the best course of action.”
Eve looked deeply into his eyes. She didn’t see a threat. She saw playfulness and she saw attraction.
“Is that a threat?” she asked.
He met her eyes and held them. When Eve felt the power of his gaze, she was seized by a sudden and remarkable attraction. It flamed in her like a lit torch. She blinked and looked away across the street at a Coffee House with the name Zarcone’s Tea & Coffee House printed in gilded letters on the plate-glass window. Beneath that was written Dealer in Coffee, Teas and Spices.
“My grandmother used to say, ‘What fills the eye fills the heart,’” he said lightly.
Eve put on a hard face, her eyes avoiding his. “Well, it sounds like your grandparents spent a lot of time sitting in the parlor working hard at being clever.”
He laughed out loud and it surprised her. He was amused by her. Was he mocking her?
“So are you following me?” she repeated, with force.
His laughter faded and he folded his newspaper, leveling his eyes on her. “I should have been following you a long time ago, I think.”
Eve felt the rise of heat again. It was unnerving how her impulsive attraction to this guy threw her off-balance. “Well okay, then, whoever you are,” Eve said, hearing her voice tremble, “I just want to tell you that…”
He cut her off in mid-sentence. “My name is Detective Sergeant Patrick Gantly and you have friends in high places. Aren’t you the fortunate one, madam?”
Eve didn’t speak. She wasn’t sure what he meant.
“You’re a policeman?”
“I’m a Detective Sergeant, but you don’t have to call me that. But then, why not call me that since that is what I am.”
He stood watching her, completely at ease. His face was half in shadow and half in sun.
“Then you are following me?”
He offered a little bow and tipped his hat. “Observing, madam. Merely observing and making sure you do not get into any harm.”