May 10, 2012
May 10, 2012
I kicked off my Summer Reading season this Memorial Day with one of the hottest debut books so far this year, Overseas by Beatriz Williams. Kate Wilson is an 20-something investment banker in New York. Somewhat bookish and reserved, she hasn't even had a boyfriend since college. This is not because she is unattractive, but because of her dedication to her career and some bad experiences with men. So what is it about her that so attracts Julian Laurence, legendary founder and manager of the most successful hedge fund in the trade? Julian appeared in New York about a decade earlier and built an empire worth billions. Very private, extraordinarily handsome and cultured, Julian with his British accent is the talk of the town but he is seldom seen in society.
Kate and Julian meet when her firm presents a deal to Julian and they begin a flirtation conducted primarily through text message. Almost immediately Julian breaks it off citing conflict of interest concerns. Even though the deal falls through Kate does not hear from him for several months until one evening she is running through Central Park and Julian saves her from a mugger. They immediately embark on a whirlwind affair which changes Kate's life completely. Not only is her own career in shambles, but it becomes clear that someone would like to destroy them both. Kate often feels that Julian's old-fashioned protective notions are over the top and asks why Julian is so secretive about his background and life before coming to New York.
I wanted to like Overseas much more than I actually did. It is no secret that time-travel is one of the major elements of Overseas and I don't object to that. In fact, I'm a big fan of the Outlander series and liked The Time Traveler's Wife very much. Julian just doesn't seem real to me- too handsome, too rich, too honorable- too everything in fact. Kate and he seemingly have the same argument multiple times over his secretiveness and over-protectiveness. He has his reasons of course, and those reasons are explained at the end. The mechanism for the time-travel is demonstrated but not really explained. I also couldn't get my head around the sequence of events between Amiens and New York in Kate's journey. I could forgive all that if my own emotions were more engaged.
There were things that I liked about Overseas. Beatriz Williams has storytelling skills that kept me engaged throughout the book. It never occurred to me to stop reading because I had no idea who was behind the plot against Kate and Julian. I just never felt very emotionally engaged and to me that is a big minus. I like fantasy and romance but Overseas didn't deliver for me.
Rating- A very shaky 3 stars