Publication Date: July 15, 2012
In Janelle’s Time by Dayna Leigh Cheser, Janelle’s father, Gerard, dies in a terrible accident leaving her to inherit his properties and great fortune. Richard Grayson, the youngest son of a duke, sees Janelle and falls for her instantly. Together they encounter a strange light by which they travel back in time and to the English estate of Richard’s ancestors. Will everything change for Janelle and Richard or will their love conquer all? Janelle’s Time does indeed cover a lot of time.
When the author e-mailed me to request this review, she sent a very well-organized document that listed “some time travel” as one of the points of the book.
The time travel aspect of this book is very light. Janelle’s Time goes in many different directions and time travel is a minor digression in the storyline involving Richard and Janelle. The story involves tragedy, romance, kidnapping, murder and amnesia. To once again quote the wonderful Literary Gary, “…writing a novel is a terrific achievement.”
I enjoy romance and time travel and truly went into Janelle’s Time wanting to like the story. One must always suspend disbelief when reading, but given the time in which the story was set, the first moment that was hard to swallow was Janelle inheriting everything and not an only child. Janelle had two brothers and two sisters who had already conveniently signed away their right to contest the will. The device reminded me of the Stone Barrington series by Stuart Woods when Stone is scraping the bottom of the financial barrel, a relative dies and suddenly he’s richer than he ever thought he would be. Rich enough to buy bulletproof cars! Some readers may consider the above a spoiler, but there is simply so much going on in this novel that this tidbit with which the novel opens is nothing in the grand scheme of the storyline.
The story feels as though it lacks focus. The author goes in many directions and never really develops the storylines. They feel cliché of the genre. Janelle collapses from extreme emotion and Richard must save her. He sees her smile and suddenly he knows that he will never love another. Both main characters are physical perfection personified. The story felt as though the author had a number of ideas that she wanted to get on the page, but if she had elaborated the book would have run too long. I really think this story would have been better if it were made up of more than one book. A minor example of the writing style is that the author mentions Janelle’s siblings several times at the start of the novel without elaborating on them and yet spends two paragraphs on what Janelle is wearing. She does later enumerate the siblings, but in the beginning, it just felt false which really made the story difficult to get into. Not helping matters is that the author tells us much of the story instead of giving us motivation in dialogue, and where dialogues appear, they tend to feel more like monologues. “I must say everything I ever wanted to say in these few sentences.” When Richard and Janelle first go out riding together they give each other a complete life history which is somewhat boring to the reader. Does much of what they said matter within the scope of the storyline?
The characters were very one-dimensional. Janelle is difficult to like. She’s very immature in her reactions to events within the story, and while she has been through a lot, her reactions come off more as those of a rebellious teen than a woman who knows herself and is out to get what she wants. I usually very much like a bad guy in a storyline but in “Janelle’s Time” there seemed to be no true development. The bad guy is bad because he’s done this truly terrible thing and there’s no convincing a reader that he has emotional connections in a very Snidley-Whiplash way.
On the upside, Cheser is an author with a lot of ideas. All, had they been developed, would have been great, though not all in the same novel. There is a unique spirit in the base of her writing that, if developed, could lead to some truly magical stories.
If you like romance and don’t mind it clichéd, Janelle’s Time is a novel for you. This review may seem overwhelmingly negative but there are folks who like this sort of writing. Just the facts ma’am with no particular storyline belabored.