Review

Overseas

by Beatriz Williams

OVERSEAS is a dramatic romance novel that spans continents and eras, a debut based on similar ideas to those in THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE but with some interesting twists. Captain Julian Laurence from World War I-era Britain meets Kate Wilson, a modern Wall Street executive, and the two feel an immediate, soulful connection and sense of déjà vu as they are pulled together through space and time.

Alternating chapters play out in this tale with separate plotlines, using a he knows/she knows scenario. The lady and gentleman each attempt to win the other over in a foreign time and place, having already fallen in love elsewhere but with one of the two being robbed of all memories of those experiences due to the timeline.

"OVERSEAS is a dramatic romance novel that spans continents and eras, a debut based on similar ideas to those in THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE but with some interesting twists."

The first half alternates simultaneously with the second, and takes place in modern New York City as twentysomething Kate toils in her job as a Wall Street investment banker. Through business, she’s introduced to Julian, a witty, world-class billionaire hedge fund manager who’s world famous for his looks and smart business sense. Kate is interested but has no ambitions of being worthy of his attentions. She’s fully unaware that he’s enraptured with her. Julian has tracked her down for the sole purpose of winning her over and protecting her from an unknown threat. Kate does initially seem to be an unlikely companion for a man of his ambition and character; Julian is an old soul whose breeding and varied life experiences have given him perspectives she’s never even dreamed of. They are an unlikely couple, and readers will recognize many of the same qualities in these protagonists as in TWILIGHT.

Ordinary Kate is fresh, honest, appealing and self-effacing, an American girl who’s somehow unaware of her humble qualities and understated beauty. Julian is devastatingly handsome and old-fashioned, and Kate appeals to him precisely because she’s comfortable in her nerdy shell and entirely uninterested in materialistic notions. Julian’s public image as a “mythic alpha” is a mere façade created by his poise and fortune. Money and power mean nothing to him, and Julian lives only for his devotion to Kate.

Julian’s reputation, worldwide business connections, and tendencies to be overprotective create barriers for the couple as Julian braves Wall Street fearlessly and successfully while Kate is left in the dust, simply attempting to work toward a future career and remain afloat in the cutthroat world of a hypercompetitive Wall Street investment firm. But he supports her entirely, and it is due to Julian’s persistence that they are able to make a connection even after Kate loses her job under scandalous conditions. The couple becomes quite close in a short amount of time, and most of the book’s 450 pages center on the progression and predestined quality of their love. Readers who enjoy dedicated classic romance are in store for a soulful, intimate connection.

The side story takes Kate back in time to France in the early 1900s during World War I, as tragic events unfold that force her to find Julian in an earlier time. She presents herself as a stranger in an unexplained state of grieving and pregnancy. The early-20th-century Julian has no memory of her, and Kate is the older woman now. Naturally, Julian sees in her an intimate familiarity and is delighted by the ways she carries herself. Kate pleads her case that Julian’s life is in danger while the two pursue their courtship. But in the early 1900s, that particular brand of courtship presents unique issues. The two face an uphill battle, particularly as Julian is considered a man of impeccable taste and breeding and has many admirers. He’s essentially considered one of the most eligible bachelors in England, while Kate is socially questionable.

OVERSEAS is a classic tale of old-fashioned guy meets modern girl, a dramatic love story that centers on a lucky couple with unusual bonds that defy space and time. This is a light, melodramatic read with a good deal of romance and swooning that holds great feminine appeal for dedicated readers of romance.

Reviewed by Melanie Smith on May 11, 2012

Overseas
by Beatriz Williams