Merry Wanderer of the Night + TIME

Now and Then

Anna O'Shea's life is falling apart. Her husband has just left her most likely due to her multiple miscarriages. Her job as a lawyer is taxing and unsatisfying. And after a trip to Ireland she finds out that her brother Patrick was in a horrible car accident and might not live. To top it all off, her nephew is in jail and it's up to her to go get him out. This is the beginning of Jacqueline Sheehan's Now and Then. After Anna rescues her nephew, Joseph, from jail they both go to her house and fall asleep. Since they are each thinking about going to the hospital to visit Patrick the next day their sleep is a little messed up, and Anna finds Joseph searching through her suitcase.

In a magical moment Joseph and Anna pass through the ocean and in to another world: 1844 Ireland. Unfortunately they are separated, or not so unfortunately for Joseph. Joseph quickly falls in love and becomes a famous wrestler, while Anna can barely walk and is desperate to find her nephew. In the end they are both torn between their desire to stay in the past and return to the present.

This book started out a little slow for me, but once Joseph's story turned into a love story it picked up a little more. The first half of the book was a lot of description about how weird it felt to be in another time period. I felt like this could have been cut down a little as some things were repeated frequently, sometimes within a couple pages of each other. This made me feel like Sheehan didn't trust her reader, which in turn made me less apt to trust her. On the other end of the spectrum, by the end of the book I felt like Sheehan had woven a wonderful puzzle and all the ends were tied together which was really important for this book. It was obvious Sheehan had done some research on 19th century Ireland, I just wish it would have been more apparent at the beginning of the novel.

I also felt like this book was struggling over what kind of book it wanted to be. Joseph is a sixteen-year-old American teenager, so obviously he cusses, but I felt like the somewhat frequent pottymouthing and slang was too stark against Sheehan's mystical voice. I don't have a problem with language, it just felt out of place. At the same time, Joseph's character made the book for me. He was a total outcast and really messed up in modern America, but he finds that in Ireland he is actually cool and really talented. I could related to Joseph because of this and I would always get excited when the chapters about him came up.

This novel earned a C.

This novel counts for the Reading Western Europe Challenge and the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

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Now and Then + TIME