Title: A Token of Time
Author: Ethan Day
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Historical (1950’s) Romance/Time Travel/Paranormal
Length: Novel (428 PDF pages)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Tj
Summary Review: A beautifully written romance between a 1950’s closeted movie star and a contemporary man with supernatural powers, that I couldn’t find fault with and simply couldn’t put down.
The Blurb: The murder of Zachary’s lover and a mysterious connection to the recently deceased legendary matinee idol, Marc Castle challenged everything Zachary knew to be true – to believe that the impossible, was possible. On the run from his family, Zachary Hamilton was cursed with a gift he neither wanted nor asked for. The recent murder of his lover unleashed a chain of events revealing Zachary’s connection to the recently deceased legendary matinee idol, Marc Castle. Attempting to unravel the mystery behind the movie star, Zachary encountered an ancient relic shrouded in history and folklore, leading to a discovery so shocking it altered his very existence — challenging everything Zachary knew to be true — to believe that the impossible, was possible.
The Review: Some writers find success with a certain formula, and tend to stick to that recipe when crafting many of their books. I am fan of several writers who do this, and am quite happy that they do. But there are others, who take that initial success and build upon it, spreading their journalistic wings and taking us on a glorious journey. Ethan Day has quickly become one such writer, who I have eagerly followed from his early romance/comedy successes. For me, Mr. Day’s Sno Ho will always stand as the pinnacle of what a romance/comedy should be. Despite my love of the comedies, to my delight Mr. Day tread new ground in the more serious At Piper’s Point, which has maintained it’s place as one of my favorite books, one which I have reread many times.
In his latest offering, Mr. Day has again proven to me that he is far more talented than even I realized. Don’t be fooled by the angst ridden opening scene in A Token of Time, it is merely an opportunity to meet our protagonist Zachary, who is numb with grief and guilt over the murder of his lover Nick, for which he takes full responsibility, knowing that his own sister is behind the murder. We quickly learn that Zachary and his sister share supernatural powers, which she believes are her legacy and will stop at nothing to reclaim. Nick and Zachary have been on the run trying to stay one step ahead, but inevitably were caught. Consequently, Zachary has lost the one person that he loved in the world and if not for his assistant/friend Dave, would probably drink himself to death. And fate has other plans for young Zachary that will take him on an unbelievable adventure.
Mr. Day’s recipe in A Token of Time includes a large helping of historical romance, a pinch of time travel and the supernatural, and an interesting bit of suspense with a subplot involving disappearing young gay men. I enjoyed the details about the mid century that Mr. Day focused on – from the very formal way that everyone dressed, even at home, (I loved the reference to “Grandpa” pants) to the stark fact that gay men could not ever be out in public and risked ruin or possible imprisonment if even a hint of being gay surfaced. And the vivid description of the breath-taking estates that the wealthy and powerful inhabited makes me wonder about Mr. Day’s research. Might he have spent some time with some very wealthy friends? I’m quite envious, I’m sure. These details really brought the time period to life for me.
At the heart of the story is a wonderful romance between a closeted 1950’s movie star Marc and the modern day Zachary. Their connection is one that spans time and surprises them both from the moment they meet. This is not insta-love, but rather Mr.Day makes it something that if we’re very, very lucky, we may experience once in our lifetimes – that feeling when first meeting of “I know you” that can’t be explained. It’s these kind of well thought out nuances that make the story so compelling.
The characters are quite likable in their individual ways, but very real. Zachary struggles with his guilt over his feelings for Marc so soon after Nick’s murder. Marc struggles with his attraction to Zachary, despite not knowing anything about his past, and not wanting to pressure him into something that he may not be ready for. There are also some really enjoyable secondary characters in the person of Dave (the hunky assistant, who is unfailingly loyal) and Jonathan (the one person Zachary can confide in) as well as Marc’s snarky friend Leo and Jonathan’s gruff lover Max. They all had unique qualities that brought them to life for me.
And delightfully, Mr. Day also managed to sneak in a little of his trademark humor in some of the lines that pop out of the characters’ mouths, or thoughts kicking around in their heads, such as:
“Could you drop me off at 2008, please and thank you.”
“Quite selfish of me, not wanting to die.”
and one of my personal favorites:
“You’ll make a really good friend for some lying, cheating ho-bag some day.”
The romance builds slowly and the consummation is delayed until they are well on the way to being in love. But don’t despair, the sex is hot and well worth the wait. And even more importantly, the love that these men feel comes vividly to life, allowing the reader to truly feel that they would each do anything, even risk their lives to be together. And for those who need it – yes, there is a happy ending.
As much as I wanted to fulfill my promise to him years ago and give Mr. Day a one star review for using too many words, I can not. Every word was needed to tell this beautifully written story. I highly recommend A Token of Time.