Rating: 4.25 stars
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It is the year 3352 and Dr. Drake Stilson and Jens Pakkala are Temporal Agents with The Oracle Group. The agency is charged with going back in time to repair conflicts in the timeline and prevent inappropriate changes to history. Drake and Jens are work partners, with the historian Drake time traveling back and forth to the early Renaissance era, and Jens acting as his support person in the present day. The men are also romantic partners, beginning their relationship soon after Drake came to The Oracle Group two years before.
Drake has now been tasked with an emergency assignment that requires him to go back to London in 1349, right at the start of Black Plague. People are dying all over the city, and Drake has been given the near impossible task to “keep Henry alive.” He has no idea which Henry, or how to find the man, but disaster could occur if he can’t correct the potential glitch to the historical timeline Henry’s death could cause. It is a dangerous mission and an even more dangerous time as tensions are high in the midst of one of the greatest epidemics in history. Drake and Jens must figure out how to find and save Henry, while making sure that Drake himself can make it home alive.
I love time travel stories so I was really excited for Right Place, Right Time, and I wasn’t disappointed. The book is a novella, but Mahoney manages to fit in a great story with nice romance, interesting time travel elements, a dash of history, and some nice suspense.
First off, the time travel elements are done really well. We spend time in the future with both men, as well as with Drake in the past. The way time travel works is explained clearly enough that it worked for me, and even though the science isn’t really explained (the characters themselves admit they don’t fully understand how it all works), the process makes sense in the context of the story. I also think Mahoney makes the most of things, really adding some nice detail into life in the 1300s as Europe faces the Plague. I would have loved to see more time with Drake in the past, especially seeing him in his efforts to find Henry and help treat the sick. I think this part got a little shortchanged by the novella length of the story. But I still think it was well done.
The format of the book also works well. Time travel stories can be confusing as we jump times and timelines, but things are very smooth here. We open with a prologue back in 1349 that sets the stage for Drake’s mission. We then jump back in the story to when the men first meet as Jens recruits Drake, the guys begin their relationship, and Drake has his first mission. The story then goes forward a couple of years to the characters’ present day as Drake gets assigned his mission to save Henry. Even though at that point we move back and forth in time between the past and their present, the chapters are clearly labeled and Mahoney does a nice job using the shifting times/locations to ratchet up the suspense as the danger to Drake grows.
The relationship end is also well done. I loved the bit of an odd couple these guys make, as well as their banter. Their connection to each other is clear from the start and even though their time together on page is somewhat limited, you never doubt their feelings for each other.
I did feel that the ending is left a little too open ended. The story seemed nicely resolved and the we get a scene that introduces some new opportunities for the men, and it seemed like the set up for a second book. But as far as I can tell from all my looking, this book is a standalone. And so I feel like things that felt resolved were then stirred up and left a little bit open.
Regardless of these small issues, I really enjoyed this story a lot. I’ll tell you, the ending of the prologue left me so delighted I could not wait to jump into the meat of the story. I think this book was really well done and kept me thoroughly entertained. I’d definitely recommend it for fans of time travel romance, or anyone looking for a creative story with romance, history, and time travel fun.
I’m a definite fan of time travel romance, Jay, so this sounds appealing. Thanks for your review!