Having read a couple of Elizabeth Lowell’s revised reissues, as well as their originals, I can say with certainty that I prefer the new versions to the old. And I’m thrilled that she’s redoing them. I haven’t read Sequel in its original form but the revised edition, This Time Love, is an incredible story.
The characters are full of life and love and exceptionally well developed. But that is what many have come to expect from Lowell. This is a book that flows almost seamlessly from start to finish. The only hitch being the amount of description given to caving, the skills and various techniques. Not being a caver myself I found myself skipping paragraphs in order to get on to the parts most important to me- the characters, their lives and their love.
I will say this, however, Lowell does as an excellent job of breaking the technical aspects of caving into something a layperson can understand as any author I’ve ever read. So while the descriptions of everything weren’t boring, it just wasn’t as interesting as what lay beyond it.
Our main characters are two people with a world of hurt, miscommunication and misunderstandings between them. They’re two people who you commiserate with and want to find happiness.
Seven years ago Gabe Venture came to Lost River Cave to explore. At twenty-three he was young and eager to explore the world and make a name for himself. He wasn’t ready, or in a position, to settle down. Gabe moved on, despite the love he’d found with innocent, twenty year-old Joy Anderson, but not without looking back. Seven years ago, Joy had been young and naïve, losing Gabe followed quickly by other life changing events caused her to grow up in a hurry. The Joy of today is less trusting and infinitely more self-contained than the Joy of old. Time has left it’s mark on them both.
The build up to Gabe and Joy’s reunion was agonizing. I had to pace myself, make myself slow down so I wouldn’t miss anything important in my leaps ahead. And it’s a good thing I did because throughout This Time Love, Lowell teases the reader with what’s to come. It’s like a soap opera with a happy ending, every time one curiosity is satisfied another has already been forming to take its place. This continues on through the end when everything is tied up with a beautiful happy ending that we romance readers (see idealists) demand.
I praise Lowell’s ability to keep the reader fully engaged all the way through. And as always her next book is already on my wish list.