Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: Overseas

By Gail Allison

Kate Wilson is a Wall Street analyst, and that’s what she’s comfortable doing. She’s a small-town girl, and would much rather sit at her desk and crunch numbers than suffer through board meetings and client-facing presentations. When Kate happens to meet up with self-made billionaire, Julian Laurence through work, she can’t deny that she’s smitten with him, and he seems to be captivated by her, as well. As Kate and Julian grow closer, the shroud of mystery surrounding him begins to unravel, and when Kate does discover the truth of who he is and how he got here, she needs to decide whether she’s going to believe in reason and steady logic or if she’s ready to suspend disbelief and listen only to her heart.

As the story progresses, we jump back in time, where another Kate is trying to reach Captain Julian Ashford in France during the First World War. Throughout the novel we watch both the present and the past relationships grow into something amazing, and Ms Williams’ point is made over and over again: deep, true love isn’t dictated by something as insignificant as time. It exists beyond those perimeters. We learn snippets of each story (past and present) as the novel progresses, and Ms Williams has a great knack for knowing when to give more information and when to switch storylines. I never got bored with either of the storylines, and I was always left wondering what was going on with the other one each time they switched.

Like Kate Wilson, you need to be ready to suspend disbelief for this novel. If you’re one of those folks who looks at every detail with a gimlet eye and prefers a “just the facts, ma’am” approach to storytelling, this is probably not the book for you. But if you’re ready to get lost in a whirlwind of sentiment and emotion, take a look at this novel. I’ve actually shied away from reading “time-travel” novels (specifically "The Time Traveler’s Wife"), because of the suspension of disbelief necessary to enjoy them. This book has changed my opinion on that topic. I’d be willing to give "The Time Traveler’s Wife" a try now, simply because "Overseas" was so enjoyable, and made it so easy to believe in the whole “love can transcend limitations and make the impossible possible” thing.

I would argue that the novel perhaps did not need to stretch to the full 464 pages in hardcover. There were a few characters and some situations that Kate and Julian ran into that felt like they were done one too many times. I’m not sure exactly what I would have taken out to make this happen (perhaps some of the dialogue? It felt a little conversation-heavy at times), but something about this book made it feel like it could have potentially been a little more streamlined.

That being said, though, this book had a certain something that set it a cut above the rest. Even when the dialogue got a bit slow, it was still engaging. I wanted to push through and keep going because Ms. Williams had set the story up well and there was always some little piece of information that I was waiting for and wanting to keep the story moving to get to. She found a good story that hadn’t been done before, and told it well. I, personally, am really looking forward to Ms. Williams’ next foray into fiction.

Thanks to Putnam for the book in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

Preet said...

I LOVED this book! :)