Chocolate Review no. 1 - Time Will Tell by Julie Coulter Bellon

WARNING: Contains spoilers.

I owe my "Books for Chocolate and Reviews" idea to Julie. A Facebook thread about Canadian chocolate led to my sending her some British chocolate, and, in gratitude, she sent me this book. I think I got the better end of the deal there.

I was fascinated by "Time Will Tell" from the outset because the action opens in London, just half-an-hour down the road from where I am sitting right now. I am always interested to read books set in Britain but written by Americans (and Canadians!) because a) it's fascinating to see how they view us and b) it's fun to pick out the bits they got wrong.

So I had a lot of fun with this book - sorry Julie! For example, the singular of "pence" is "penny" so you cannot toss "a pence" into the Thames. I have never heard of a house being called a Parish before - a parish is a church geographical district, like a ward. And they seemed at one point to fly from an airport from which (before take-off) they could see Big Ben, whereas all five of London's airports are a long distance from the City. Neither does London have a "downtown".

As I said when I reviewed English Trifle by Josi Kilpack and Pursued by Lynn Gardner, anyone wanting to set a book over here, have me proofread it first.  (Hoping for yet more free books...) None of my four books are set in America because I would just get it so, so wrong and be the cause of much hilarity and reciprocal fun. (Having said that, I've just remembered that part of my next novel is set in New York, where I've never been, but the action is at least confined to one apartment interior. Fingers crossed!)

But actually none of that matters, because the bulk of Julie's readers are American and they will love it. Julie is a real master of the intricate and unexpected in her plots, and I was constantly surprised by new developments all the way though. In particular, I thought by about a third of the way through that the rest of the book would consist of our hero and heroine chasing the thumb drive across Europe. Not so. And just when I thought a particular bad guy was getting pleasantly menacing and would in in the final standoff, he got killed.

The writing style is fairly simple and basic, but that's fine because I wasn't looking for high literature and because it makes it easy and accessible for all levels of reader, including young adult. It is very fast paced - sometimes so much so that I lost track. The characters are wonderful, and it was great seeing non-cliched characters - a very capable, independent and confident woman (gotta love her, especially when she lost both her son and her heartless husband in the first chapter and still comes out fighting) and an honourable non-LDS man. Even better was the genuine and compelling romance between them when they were both in their forties, or even fifties.
If you like romance novels this book doesn't disappoint. And if you like international action thrillers then this one is as uncliched and entertaining as they come and includes some really wonderful exotic locations. Like Utah.

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