|Lynn Kurland: My Heart Stood Still|
Romance (Paperback), ISBN 0-425-18197-9
In the present, Thomas McKinnon successfully meets any challenge he takes on -- law school, a highly profitable business, climbing Mt. Everest and K2, and building a house on the Maine coast with his own hands. Yet nothing fulfills him. He yearns for yet another challenge. On a whim, he buys an English castle sight unseen, then moves there for a year to renovate it.
But the keep already boasts a number of occupants: the ghostly Iolanthe, who remains in the place of her death 600 years later, as well as a variety of Highlanders and clansmen of hers, plus the Victorian fop, Roderick, who does little but annoy her. Iolanthe, furious about the new owner, allows her garrison of ghosts to do their best to drive Thomas away. They give Thomas, who can see them, a rough time, but he chooses to view them as a challenge that he must overcome.
Despite their early enmity, Iolanthe and Thomas fall in love, though they realize that their relationship faces extreme difficulties because of her ghostly condition. On an emergency business trip back to New York City, Thomas has a stroke of luck. He meets a friend of Iolanthe's great-great-grandfather James and learns Iolanthe's big secret. Her father's keep holds portals for time travel.
Driven, Thomas hatches a difficult plan. He trains in swordfighting, speaking Gaelic and everything else he needs to pass unnoticed in 14th century Scotland. He intends to go back and save Iolanthe from being murdered. Successful as always, his biggest problem proves to be Iolanthe. In the past, she doesn't remember him or recognize him, though slowly, little glimpses of a life she couldn't know about begin to shine through. Thomas brings her through to the present again, hoping she will fall in love with him again. But when they leave the past, three beings come forward in time, and the once and future lovers find their lives threatened by a menace from her past.
A gripping tale from start to finish, this book provides a great read. The discussions of memory and how it doesn't necessarily work in a linear fashion occasionally confuse but don't distract that much from the story.
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