Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thanks, I needed that.

Misty Dreams by Charlotte Parker

Written by Merrylee
Tuesday, 05 January 2010
Title: Misty DreamsAuthor: Charlotte ParkerPublisher: The Wild Rose Press Genre: Time TravelPublication date: November 20, 2009ISBN: N/APages: 304Series: N/AReviewer: Merrylee
Heat Level:


Growing up under her father’s strict and abusive hand, Elita La Rue toed the line at home, rarely making waves with the unpredictable Mathew La Rue, who still blamed her for her mother‘s death in childbirth nearly twenty-one years ago. Enduring whatever came her way and keeping out of Mathew’s sights whenever she could, she faithfully played her role every day at Duke’s Wild West, Mathew’s theme town. But at night, she read her great-great grandmother’s journal until it had become so familiar to her that she could almost recite it, word for word. On it’s pages, she read about gunfighters Wild Bill Hickok and Seth Lucan, fantasizing about them until the night a handsome man dressed as an 1876 gunfighter rode out of a strange mist that had mysteriously appeared on the main street of Duke’s Wild West. She had no idea that the mysterious man, who claimed to be the real Seth Lucan and seemed genuinely astonished by modern innovations, would change her life forever.

Seth Lucan was fed up with living a life tainted by the reputation of Milo Lucan, his outlaw-gunfighter brother. At one time he’d idolized his big brother, happy to draw against him when Milo practiced his fast draw. But that time was long gone. Now, everywhere he went, people thought he was just as low down dirty as Milo, to the point that he’d built up his own reputation as a fast draw. Sometimes it seemed like he couldn’t turn around without some gun-happy yahoo calling him out. Seth was tired of the killing and knew there had to be more for him out there than running from an unwanted reputation. And so he’d come to Deadwood in the summer of 1876, hoping to make enough money panning for gold to start over somewhere back east, where the name Lucan wasn’t so well-known. Instead, he rode out of town in a hail bullets, only to ride into a strange futuristic world filled with half-naked women and contraptions so advanced no one in his time has even dreamed about them.

Now he’s playing at being Seth Lucan with a gun full of blanks, while fighting his attraction to Elita, who insists that she’s going with him when he goes back to 1876 Deadwood, a place that’s fit for neither woman nor dog. Elita, however, is convinced that she is the Elie who appears in her great-great-grandmother’s journal, the one destined to save both Seth and Wild Bill from the fates that lie ahead of them. When the mist again appears, emanating from the old blacksmith’s shop that once stood in old Deadwood, will their love be enough to see them through the consequences of going back in time? Or will real bullets and fate step in to prevent them from re-writing history?

Misty Dreams by Charlotte “C. J.” Parker thoroughly drew me in mentally and emotionally. I laughed, I cried, I breathed this action-packed book in as if it were vitally necessary to my survival. Despite a few spots where the writing didn’t flow quite as smoothly as it did throughout most of the book, this is one of the ten best novels I‘ve ever read. Although it’s 304 pages long, I read it in one sitting. The roof could have fallen in on me, and I wouldn’t have noticed. I was that engrossed in this truly wonderful story.

Ms. Parker’s respect for the era is very apparent in her writing. I’ve read the history of Deadwood and have visited the modern-day town, which remains very much like it was in the 1880’s. I’ve seen the pictures of it when it was still the shanty town Ms. Parker describes in Misty Dreams. I’ve been in the Old No. 10 Saloon and seen the chair Wild Bill was sitting in when he was shot and killed while playing cards, and I can tell you that Ms. Parker’s imagery, her description of the people and attitudes of the time are superbly drawn. I could almost smell the horse manure mixed with the pungent scents or sweat, gun smoke and leather. I could hear the hooves of the horses and oxen, the jangling sound of wagon harnesses and the hurdy-gurdy music emanating from the saloons. Though arguably self-serving, Elita’s sheer doggedness to go with Seth back to 1876 to save Wild Bill was impressive and admirable. Despite her father’s abuse, this young woman is no shrinking violet. She’s tough, strong-willed and able to kick ass when the chips are down. Seth is the antithesis of the wild west gunfighter who’d rather shoot a man in the back as face him down. He’s honest, kind-hearted, still idealistic despite his careworn outlook and determined to protect Elita at all cost, including his own life. The sexual tension between these two builds like a smoking volcano preparing to erupt. When they finally come together, it’s appropriate and sweet while being fiery enough to torch the sheets.

With my love of American history and particular fascination with Wild Bill “Jim“ Hickok, the experience of reading Misty Dreams was very special to me. I must say that I didn’t see the surprising twist coming at the book’s end, involving Homer, Mathew’s hired hand. I sincerely hope that this is just the first of several more time travels to come from Charlotte Parker’s fertile imagination that will bear Homer’s special touch. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It's one for keeper shelves everywhere.