A Time to Love


268 pages
ISBN 0-7701-0383-9





Reviewed by Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick is a librarian at Ryerson Polytechnical University.


This novel is one that belies the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.” The cover depicts a Hollywood-handsome (in fact, the drawing looks remarkably like a blond Christopher Reeve) British officer standing over a commercially pretty red-headed woman in a low-cut dress, who may be either laughing on screaming. The stereotyped figures are badly drawn, and the whole cover is in lurid shades of green and red, obviously symbolizing Ireland and England. The cover caption reads “In a dark land, their love would shine forever.” This cover accurately reflects the contents and tone of the book. Set in Ireland during the 1847 potato famine, the novel charts the course of true love between an arrogant and distant, but handsome, British captain, and a fiery but proud Irish peasant woman. As a historical romance, the book succeeds admirably, providing a lot of historical information, much local colour, and constant vicissitudes in the romantic love affair as it progresses toward its inevitable happy ending. Those who do not like this genre of fiction, however, will find the characters to be shallow and unrealistic and the dialogue stilted. As in much romance writing, adjectives are overabundant and certain words and phrases are overused, which gives some of the descriptions a boringly familiar aim. There is obviously a market for historical romance fiction, and A Time to Love should satisfy those who enjoy the genre. In any case, a glance at the cover will indicate to any prospective readers whether or not they will want to delve inside the book.


McCullough, Helen, “A Time to Love,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35863.