Book Review: Trick of Time by J L Merrow

Trick of Time
by J L Merrow
M/M Romance/Time Travel
Carina Press

5 Stars


A lover from another time

When Ted Ennis steps out the doors of the Criterion Theatre for a cigarette and finds himself in Victorian London, he begins to doubt his sanity. At first he thinks it's all a film set, and is sure that the strikingly handsome young man leaning against a lamppost must be the leading man…

What starts as a sordid transaction with a beautiful rent boy quickly turns into something much deeper, drawing him back again and again as he gets to know Jem and craves meaningful encounters with him.

But Ted doesn't understand the exact conditions necessary for his trips through time—and for Jem, time may actually be running out. Now Ted has one last shot to get back to Jem and save their relationship, before it's too late…


Grief stricken after the deaths of his parents and husband in a car accident, the accident that he survived, Ted Ennis works as a theatre assistant in London trying to get some semblance of normality back in his life. He may have survived the accident, but he's still scarred - both physically and emotionally. Ted is suffering some after-effects, especially with his brain. When he steps out of the theatre for a cigarette break, he's unsure whether he's hallucinating or if it's some big budget costume drama he's stepped into that night.

It soon transpires that this is no hallucination or vision, not even a drama set. Everything is very real, from the gas lamps to the squalor of the back streets of Victorian London, not to mention the real fear of being caught by the police for having sexual relations between men.

Although short, the novella has quite a depth of characterisation. You are drawn both into Ted's world of the twenty-first century and how sad he still is after the car accident and losing the people who mattered to him and then into Victorian London and what Jem has to do to survive there. Ted and Jem were both so sweet that I just wanted to reach in and hug them both. Victorian and modern-day London were both brought vividly to life, just as both characters were. Everyone else was well-rounded and fleshed out too, from Ted's boss at the theatre to Jem's landlady Mrs. M.

The writing had a beautiful, lyrical quality to it, even though it was also written in quite plain language. There are a few love scenes in the book, which were written in a sensual style, making it feel almost dreamlike. It's an engaging read and easy to get lost in for a few hours. You'll be rooting for Ted and Jem to get their happy ending.

Review copy from Netgalley.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby


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