Laurie is exhausted from work and the endless cycle of meetings and needs a vacation. An ad for the Farthingdale Dude Ranch calls to him and soon he packs his bags. Settling in to watch a meteor shower under the stars, Laurie is told the story of Old Joe and his fox, Little Red, and then Laurie awakens to an unexpected blizzard and a calendar showing the year as 1891.
The only thing Laurie can see is one lone cabin occupied by no nonsense John Henton. John is in the cabin by design as he prefers to be alone, but he takes Laurie in and shows him how to survive. At first, Laurie thinks this is all some scenario set up by the dude ranch, but as the days go by, Laurie realizes there is no way back. He and John have nothing in common, but John makes Laurie feel safe and the chemistry flares between the men. But 1891 is a different time than Laurie came from and John cannot be open with his feelings. Laurie may have to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to be with John, his true love from another time.
Time travel stories will always call to me and this one did the same. The book features a snowed in theme and forced proximity and a love spoken as a heart’s true desire. However, there is always the possibility that time travel stories don’t cover all the aspects needed to make it all fit together, and that was my impression with this one.
Laurie is burnt out from life and work and when he needs a getaway, he goes to a dude ranch, only to wake up in 1891. It’s then he meets John and while Laurie is disoriented by his surroundings, he falls hard for John. The book is relationship driven, but not as much character driven. The book is told from Laurie’s POV only and we learn about him as he describes how he’s always quick with a joke and plays up his antics as he’s trying to make the best of his situation, but it all fell flat for me. I didn’t find Laurie particularly funny or endearing and even in present day, I can’t say I would have gravitated to his type of character. We do not get John’s POV and since information on him is scarce, his gruffness is just that…gruff. Laurie also references John’s name in his head before John introduces himself, so things were a little off for me to start.
The life that John was living, and subsequently Laurie takes on, was interesting as their day to day chores are described as they take on a winter blizzard. The men are attracted to each other, but John comes from a time where it’s illegal to be with another man and he can’t make the first move, but also Laurie doesn’t respect the dangers of the time he is currently in. Laurie falls hard for John, falls in love with John rather quickly, and while he’s attracted to John and John makes him feel safe, the part where they fell in love wasn’t as strong for me.
The book lagged for me and only picked up in the last 25%. Yet, Laurie never tells John the truth about where he came from and when he has the opportunity to alert those from his present day life, he doesn’t, even knowing they would be distraught. The story also never addresses how the course of history was irrevocably changed by Laurie going back in time, which made the time travel aspect seem too basic for me. The book also ends in the moment and there was no glimpse into their future and what we were told seemed to contradict with the present day story. There were some nice moments in this book for me, but it wasn’t quite the soul mates across time story I was looking for.