Published by Zenith Publishing on November 1st 2020
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“The curse will hold true until love has truly found you. If not, a long life you shall get, feeling alone and unwanted by all….”
Cursed by a witch to live eternally alone until he finds true love, Jacob Grimm has spent the last two hundred years falling in love with women, only to have them cruelly taken away. He made a name for himself by publishing his personal tragedies in the form of popular fairy tales. In the year 2018, he’s finally given up on finding love. Jacob only wants to enjoy his quiet life as a professor at the University of Toronto while avoiding the witch who placed his curse.
That is, until he meets one of his graduate students, Kathryn.
Kathryn didn’t expect the handsome, young man she bumped into at her favorite coffee shop to be her professor. Despite her attempts to keep their relationship professional, she can’t resist the way he talks about the Grimm brothers or kisses her hand when he greets her. As Jacob supports her through the loss of her loved ones, she falls hopelessly in love with him.
Jacob wants nothing more than to break the curse and spend the rest of his life with Kathryn, but it’s up to her to prove her love for him and defeat the witch.
The premise of ‘A Love Across Time’ was mouthwatering: fairy-tales, time-travel and immortality, romance…a combination so seductive and delicious I wanted this immediately. There’s also that bit of meta thrown in for the literary geeks who love the idea of a protagonist-author observing the commentaries and parodies/retellings on his own works given the hindsight and experience of immortality—all boxed up neatly within a reframed kind of fairytale written by Genevieve Jane.
But I’ll have to say from the start that it sadly didn’t work out for me at all.
That Jacob Grimm himself is a cursed man doomed to wander through time because of his commitment-phobic ways throughout the centuries is quite a joke on the contemporary manwhores…and one that I was interested in reading. But that he stays absorbed only in finding ‘true love’ with many women over time for the sole purpose of ending his curse made the romance trajectory too much of a transactional one for me to want to continue.
I also thought that the narrative could have benefitted from additional rounds of developmental and line-/copyediting. Too often, I found myself caught between the quick development in Jacob’s own story and the recounting of what seemed like superfluous details of Kathryn’s life (e.g. taking the stairs for fitness, her parents’ occupations, her studies—details that essentially didn’t seem integral to the overall plot) that brought the forward momentum to a stutter.
Told as past/present timelines in alternating chapters as the story developed in 2 parallel lines, its start-lull rhythm had me skimming so much as we’re told but not shown how Kathryn and Jacob’s relationship develops in the months and years that go by, along with Jacob’s past life where everything happened at a more dizzying pace.
Which brings me to the Sc-fi/Teen Fantasy genre the book categorised under: Genevieve Jane’s somewhat simplistic writing-style felt more suited to the book being a YA one, though the college-age romance context suggested otherwise—with more adult themes that played havoc with what I expected and didn’t quite get in the end.
All things considered, this felt like a first or second draft—essentially too roughly-hewn at the moment—which still needed more polishing (more tightness?) before it could shine. I wish I could have gotten into this more (and this really, is my bottomline), but it did read like the fairytale in many ways: archetypal, with somewhat flat-ish protagonists whose historical connection to each other are emphasised more than depth of emotion.