Title: A Recondite Matter
Author: G.S. Wiley
Length: 18,000 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m time travel romance
Francis is an Edwardian gentleman who prefers the quiet life. When a mysterious gift from a more adventurous friend, Sir Desmond Rivest, transports him a hundred years into the future, Francis needs to use every wit he possesses to fit into a world of smart phones, fast cars, and paper plates. Simon, an antiques dealer, seems uniquely equipped to help Francis adjust, and to help him find a way back home. But as Francis’ feelings for Simon begin to emerge, an encounter with a descendent of Sir Desmond’s threatens to take Francis away from Simon before they really begin to know one another.
As a young gay man in Edwardian times, Francis finds it hard to conceal the love he feels for an older gentleman. His friend, Desmond is dying and he gives a mysterious watch to Francis as a final gift. After Desmond’s death, Francis is lonely and so takes out the watch to be close to Desmond again, only to find himself thrust 100 years into the future.
One of my favourite things about time travel romance is when it shows one character being a real fish out of water and in the case of this book I felt this had been handled very well. Francis is alarmed to discover a world where automobiles are so fast, where TV and mobile phones allow for instant information and where two men can love and marry each other openly. Francis’ wide-eyed innocence and wholehearted embrace of the modern world was by far the best part of the story and I loved his occasional observations about how technology isn’t necessarily better as the world he came from.
Where the book faltered for me was in the relationship between Francis and Simon. In fact it left me a little cold as it happens fairly near to the end and was a little rushed. There wasn’t enough time with the pair together and alone on page – although we are told they spend time together. I couldn’t feel the spark between them and a niggly part of me felt that they were only together because Francis had nowhere else to go, rather than because there was a great passionate love.
Despite my feelings for the romance, I still enjoyed the story, especially the marvellous Pam, Simon’s shop assistant, whose family drama and kind-hearted chav personality almost stole the book from under the noses of the heroes. If you like time travel romance then this would be a good story to pick up. It’s not the best story I’ve read by this author but it’s still a decent read.