Title: The Mesmerist (The Hope Chest series #1 of 5)
Author: Pam McCutcheon
Original language: English
Gina Charles, a professional dog trainer, finds her soon-to-be husband and maid of honour in a precarious situation, on the eve of her wedding. Gina runs from the scene with her faithful dog and retreats to Hope Springs, a mysterious hotel in a remote location. There, she encounters the ghost of a handsome mesmerist, dead for 200 years and forced to wander the world. Together, they try to solve the mystery behind his murder, forcing Gina to go back in time and meet the mysterious man in person to try and save his life.
Gina gets thrown into the past with a mission: figure out how to prevent Drake’s murder from taking place, and find a way for her to get back home to the 21st century. Trying to prevent a terrible event seems impossible for Gina because she has no clues to point her in the right direction. Convincing Drake that is life is in danger proves to be her most difficult task. Gina maintains her “21st century attitude” through out the book, meaning that she stands out a lot in a Victorian society. She soon attracts Drake’s interest in her, causing them both to fall head of heels in love. Gina wavers between her heart and her head, knowing that she has to return to her own time period and leave Drake behind in his.
I liked Drake a lot, even though at times his reactions to Gina’s antics weren’t realistic. I feel that their relationship was contrived from the very start, and everything in the book was set to support the obvious outcome. Even so, they were both interesting characters and I felt invested in their story.
There were many different elements in this book that could have been either dropped, or better executed. I think the author tried to throw in as may tropes as possible, without exploiting them to their full potential. A paranormal, time travelling, historical fiction romance….. is a whole lot of genres to cram into one short book. Ultimately, this book was entertaining and a quick few hours read. I don’t think I’ll be reading the 4 other book in the series, even though each one is written by a different author and follows different protagonists in their time travelling adventures.