x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Debut novel Overseas is over-sweet

Comparisons to The Time Traveller's Wife are inevitable for this syrupy exercise.

Overseas by Beatriz Williams.
Overseas by Beatriz Williams.

"I wanted to write a great big classic gushy love story. If I can make romantics out of cynics, that's my goal," said Beatriz Williams in Publishers Weekly. Clearly, Overseas ought to have come with a warning label for its saccharine.

Williams' debut novel is based on two intertwining narratives: that of Kate Wilson, a struggling financial analyst in New York, 2008, and Kate Wilson Ashford, a time-travelling widow hoping to catch a glimpse of her future husband in Amiens, France, 1916.

Comparisons to The Time Traveller's Wife become inevitable as Kate runs into the same man in both times: Julian Laurence, incredibly successful hedge fund manager in 2008, and Captain Julian Ashford of the British army circa 1916. Love ensues, punctuated by plummy British terms of endearment, only to be overshadowed by a hidden menace destined to tear the couple apart.

While the syrupy quality of the whirlwind romance may not appeal to everyone, Overseas manages to retain some charm in the form of likeable characters and a plot that fulfils most expectations of its genre.