When The Lilacs Bloom
Linda Colwell has created a memorable villain in the person of Mother Langford. Her gothic vision of the mother-in-law from hell counterbalances the smell of lilacs that renders this time travel romance rather sweet.
Set in West Virginia in the year 1900, the story begins with the murder of Elinor, beloved of Nicholas. Fast forward one hundred years. Emily Foster, descendent of ill-fated Elinor, has moved back into the family homestead after the death of her grandmother. Across the river she sees the ruins of Langford Manor. She dreams of Nicholas and of the fire that consumed the mansion. A mist on the river pulls back to reveal the manor as it looked when new. Apparitions of Elinor and Nicholas stand out front. Emily senses Nicholas calling to her. She steps into a parallel world and relives, in the person of Elinor, the terrifying events leading up to the murder.
The author has a storytelling verve, but makes annoying mistakes. Is “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven or Tchaikovsky? She echoes the same phrases: “the heady scent of lilacs” becomes a motif and the “strawberry birthmark” gets too much type. Why don’t editors edit? The text is marred with typos a proofreader should have caught.
In the love scenes, the author achieves sensuality without being crude. She segues smoothly between time periods. Her fantasy made an entertaining summer read.