In 1959, 20-year-old college dropout Chuck McManis strolls the geyser boardwalks in Yellowstone National Park when an earthquake plunges him eighty years back in time, into the middle of an Indian war. Into his personal past, too – his great-grandfather, his boyhood idol, but not a hero after all. Hapless Chuck needs instructions for sheer survival. He will not abandon Eliza Byrne, the woman who teaches him. But nothing matters if they never make it back to civilization. No matter when it could be.
The first half of this book is thrilling and brilliant and suspenseful and gripping. Chuck is lost and found, dumb and smart, clever and stupid. I love the character. Eliza and Anna are charming and sassy and delightful. Watching the three of them dance around each other and deal with outside threats from Chuck’s perspective made me race through the book to find out what happens.
Then I hit the second half. At that point, the tale becomes a rather straightforward sweet romance with little of the suspense or excitement of the first half. The characters, which remained well done, keep it from flopping. I wish the tension in the second half lived up to the tension in the first half, yet I still enjoyed reading about Chuck’s dumbassery and the complications of daily life in the 1870s.
The historical aspect was clearly well and thoroughly researched. Minor details struck me as something one would have to delve to discover, and the setting is immersive. I felt like I’d been transported to Yellowstone and Helena and the various other places.
I recommend this book for people who like post-Civil War era historical romance.