Tuesday, June 5, 2012

REVIEW: Overseas by Beatriz Williams


A passionate, sweeping novel of a love that transcends time.

When twenty-something Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson attracts the notice of the legendary Julian Laurence at a business meeting, no one’s more surprised than she is. Julian’s relentless energy and his extraordinary intellect electrify her, but she’s baffled by his sudden interest. Why would this handsome British billionaire—Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor—pursue a pretty but bookish young banker who hasn’t had a boyfriend since college?

The answer is beyond imagining . . . at least at first. Kate and Julian’s story may have begun not in the moneyed world of twenty-first-century Manhattan but in France during World War I, when a mysterious American woman emerged from the shadows of the Western Front to save the life of Captain Julian Laurence Ashford, a celebrated war poet and infantry officer.

Now, in modern-day New York, Kate and Julian must protect themselves from the secrets of the past, and trust in a true love that transcends time and space.

About the Author
from the author's website

A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a corporate and communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons. She now lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.

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Check out a Q&A done with the author by the Philadelphia Examiner

My Thoughts
The rain beat steadily through the night and into the meager dawn.
 This story takes place in New York City and Amiens, France.
Amiens quartier saint leu canaux. Borrowed from Wikimedia Commons.
Kate Wilson finds herself wrapped up in a whirlwind romance with millionaire hedge fund bigwig Julian Lawrence. As their romance unwinds, the reader learns that their love story transcends the decades. Kate tries to understand her attraction and immediate connection to this man who quickly professes his love for her. Julian spends his time trying to convince Kate that what they feel is real and lasting and true. It is only when Kate discovers Julian's secret that she finally gives in to their love wholly, and later finds herself in a battle for him and their love.

Well, I’m not a big romance reader, and I am a bit skeptical of love. I know that love exists, and have even experienced it myself on more than one occasion. But I believe that true, deep love is rare, and usually people are more consumed with lust than love, or it is a result of a co-dependent personality finding someone to enable or someone to enable them. So I find the light fluff of romance novels to be something a bit too unrealistic for me to be able to deal with most often. It’s the dialogue in romance novels that kills me most. It’s so flowery and effusive. People don’t really talk like that, do they? Am I just cold-hearted? Because once that starts, I just sort of roll my eyes and tune out. And it's funny. I used to enjoy a good romance novel by Kathleen Woodiwiss or Danielle Steele back in the day, but since then I haven't found one that I could really lose myself in. Have I changed? Or is it just those authors that can really speak to me?

So there were quite a few times when I thought about just putting this book down, as the romance was a little over the top for me and hard to swallow. However it was the “mystery” that kept me hanging on. I wanted to understand what was really going on here. I wanted to see how this all panned out, and whether all the loose ends would be neatly tied up.

And they pretty much were.

The characters were pretty well developed, but certain things would bug me. Like the way that Julian would speak. Hey, maybe that's how good English gents really speak, calling their loves "minx" all of the time, and the whole "pip, pip, cheerio" kinda thing. I mean, what do I know. The author spent time in London and presumably knows the Brits better than I do, so maybe that really is how they speak. But it lacked a little realism for me.

I don't want to delve too deeply into the plot and give anything away, but suffice to say that it is one of those plots that keeps you guessing a bit. Have you ever seen them explain string theory? Well, that's what this reminded me of. Everything all twisted up together, the ability to just hop from one loop in the string to another. A little hokey plot, but also a little clever.

The cover is attractive, being a deep blue and black depicting the night sky over New York City, but something about it just made me think of the TV show "Bewitched"!

And I must warn that there is periodic vulgarity and there are some sexual situations.

My final word: Overall I found this to be a unique twist on the traditional romance plot. It was original and restrained, sentimental and intriguing. However I found the dialogue at times to be too fussy, and even redundant and superfluous. It was a bit on the dull side at times, but overall a good effort and worth my time.

Cover: 7/10
Writing Style: 7.5/10
Characters: 7.5/10
Storyline/Plot: 8/10
Interest/Uniqueness: 9/10

My Rating: 7.5 out of 10


I received a copy of this e-book to review through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof.

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