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Flirting with Forever: 09/11/12
The Blog Critics Books post sums up my feelings about Flirting with Forever by Gwyn Cready perfectly: I should have read the pitch more closely. The pitch didn't have cover art, which would have made it obvious that it's a bodice ripper, so I went on the time travel description alone. Big mistake.
In the present day there's Campbell "Cam" Stratford, an art historian and author, with a scandalous "fictographies." Then in the afterlife there's Peter Lely, once famous artist, who is now tasked with stopping Cam by any means possible.
To bring the two together, a web search, opens a time portal sending Cam back to Lely's time when he was portrait painter for Charles II. Cam makes up a bunch of lies to buy herself some time but ends up being really quickly seduced by Lely.
And it goes down hill from there. Somehow Cam and Lely both gain control over this unexplained time portal. With no explanation of how it works it becomes just a convenient way of switching locations. There's similarly little in way of motivation for Cam to hook up with Lely. Sure he paints well, and sure her fiance might be more trouble than he's worth, but she goes from scared to seduced too quickly.
The parts that aren't time travel or sex are lengthy scenes of painting. This is the part of the book that one reviewer on GoodReads describes as The Girl with the Pearl Earring with severe brain damage. While I personally wouldn't go that far, it did read like a whole bunch of filler.