I'm having a delightfully difficult time knowing how to classify this one. Part historical fiction, part paranormal, part contemporary, with elements of recovering from loss. All of these crazy disparate elements combine here with delightful alchemy into a lovely, sweet, hopeful story.
I'm glad the blurb didn't mention that Ted was kind of still dealing with the loss of his husband and his parents. I have to be in a certain kind of mood to deal with grief stories like that and I might have put this off otherwise. When I say he's only kind of dealing with it, I mean it's a year and a half after the accident, and Ted is right at the feeling-ready-to-move-on stage rather than the horribly depressing earlier stages that make me avoid this in stories when I can.
I did like, though, how Ted would always consult the photo of his husband after being with Jem, and how the expression on his husband's face almost seems to change. I thought it was sweet how Ted saw this as approval for pursuing the relationship.
It was lovely to see this side of the grieving process rather than the beating-yourself-up side.
And Jem. /happy sigh. What a lovely person. The only thing I wished were any different about this book is that I'd gotten to see a little more of Jem's adjustment to things at the end, but only because his reactions that I did get to see were so fun.
Jem's easy acceptance of Ted and everything that came with him was just incredible. Especially considering his profession, he's just the sweetest, most trusting, patient, kind, laid-back, open, loving person. His reaction after that first time in the alley when Ted tells him he doesn't have any money is so telling. Instead of getting upset or angry, or even hurt, he just accepts it and moves on. Exactly like he does with Ted's stories about being from the future, and with adjusting to being in the future when Ted brings him back. He was fascinating to read about, and to get to spend time with. It's no wonder I didn't want the book to end!
I really liked the time-travel element and how it was executed. Ted's various theories as to what was making it happen were perfectly timed, and perfectly-presented. I also loved how Ted proved how much Jem meant to him when he went to all of the effort to set up the charity show. It would have been so easy for him to say it was too difficult, or to convince himself that it had all been an impossible delirium or something. But he phoned all those people and worked so hard for all those months just for Jem. It was beautiful!Some Favorite Quotes:I'd always thought there ought to be something more, something beyond this shallow world of tragic lives and shattered dreams.
"Nothing special about me," he said softly...
"No, I ain't. Throw a stone from where Cheapside meets Poultry and you'll hit ten of me. 'Course, we'll run after you and thrash the daylights out of you if you try it.
His soft kisses, his warm touch, seemed to fill a hunger that had been gnawing at me so long I'd just accepted the pain as part of life.
We stood there a long time, caught in an instant of a dance.
Or had it, some tool of a benevolent fate, existed solely so I could find him and ceased to function once its purpose had been met?