Book Title : Deja Vu Lover
Author : Phoebe Matthews
Publisher : The Wild Rose Press
Genre : Contemporary / historical / time travel
Reviewer: Lindsay Townsend
Rating: 5 Wings
I was gripped from the start by Deja Vu Lover by Phoebe Matthews, with its clever title, intriguing opening and immediate evocation of place. In this original historical-romance-time-slip, the narrator, April, is used to being classed as a bimbo, but she is far from that. April is a warm-hearted, sympathetic, scatty (she keeps forgetting her umbrella in rainy modern-day Seattle) and charming young woman whom I found very appealing. She is part of a foursome of friends: steady, dependable Macbeth, clever Cyd and charming Tom. She has an on-off relationship with Tom, but both of them are commitment-shy and worried about losing each other as friends if they attempt to become more ’serious’.
I really enjoyed the fresh, snazzy dialogue between April and her three friends, and the author’s compassionate, insightful depiction of modern relationships between men and women. April meanwhile is disturbed by a vision she has of a two car accident where her three closest, dearest friends are hurt - and where she is driving one of the cars, although she cannot really drive. The visions - or are they flashbacks to a past life? - continue and increase. April lives in modern Seattle but keeps being catapulted back to California in the 1920s, where as Silver (real name Millie) she is an aspiring actress, madly in love with rising star Laurence.
Faced with these visions, April and her friends do some searching in the library and online to find Laurence and Silver. On one of these searches, April finds another Laurence - a college professor called Graham Berkold who has Laurence’s smile and charm. April finds she cannot resist Graham and, much like Silver/Millie before her, she begins a sensual love affair. At first April is free of her disturbing flashbacks but then they resume with frightening intensity. And soon April is confused. Is she with Graham, or Laurence? Her two lives are starting to collide.
Laurence and Graham also mirror each other. Laurence, she discovers, is married. So, too, she learns too late, is Graham. Both claim their wives are addicts. Then in another flashback, April learns that Laurence’s wife died and that rumours circulated that Laurence had a hand in her death. Will that history repeat itself in the present? Will Graham be involved in his wife’s death? Are Laurence and Graham to be trusted with Silver/Millie’s heart and April’s heart?
Macbeth and Tom meanwhile keep looking in on April, checking she’s OK. Macbeth takes her in his car to teach her to drive. Tom, her on-off lover, goes with her to Minnesota to discover what happened in the end to Silver/Millie. The actress, it turns out, died young, in a car crash. Will that tragic history repeat itself in the present, with April?
Déjà Vu Lover by Phoebe Matthews is a tender yet tough story, full of romantic twists and turns and a lovely, romantic ending. I found myself cheering April on and wishing her really well and happy - which, in the end, she is - and with the right man for her. I am looking forward to reading more of Phoebe Matthews’ books.
Lindsay Townsend, Classic Romance Revival