"Overseas" by Beatriz Williams is a debut novel that many a seasoned writer will envy. It's destined to be a classic love story because it combines the best of historical fiction and romance with a touch of magic.
It's a book that makes this reviewer wish for the ability to award six stars instead of just five.
Like many books in which time travel is involved, the actual mechanics of what comes first, original history or the traveling-back-in-time part is confusing. The story is told in alternating times, New York in the year 2008, and France in the year 1916.
In the present, Kate, the first person narrator, doesn't understand why Julian Laurence, billionaire, is immediately attracted to her. In the past, Julian Ashford, soldier, doesn't understand why a mysterious woman, Kate, has visited him with a strange request.
The novel is impossible to put down. The characters -- especially Julian Laurence/Ashford -- are wonderfully created, the plot is clever and, quite simply, one can't wait to find out how it all turns out.
Anglophiles will fall in love with the very, very British dialogue, and non-Anglophiles will just fall in love with the whole package.
Although it's a story of over 400 pages, each and every page feels essential. This is a book that will be read and reread in the years to come. Its themes of valor, moral rectitude, old-fashioned honor and romance are timeless.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Putnam, for review purposes.