-Review by Kazza K
Wheeler Reynolds is a twenty eight year old Financial Advisor. He works for a large NYC company scrutinising the books of businesses that people are looking at buying. On one journey he finds himself outside Chicago staying at the B&B of Ms Pratchett, wondering why someone would want to buy a B&B a good forty five minutes outside of town. Wheeler likes the big city and he especially likes anonymous liaisons with men he picks up in bars, airport restrooms, steam rooms, wherever he can get it. He likes wham-bam-no-strings attached sex just fine, and quiet towns don't offer him the bright lights and action he likes so much. While he is bedding in for the night at the B&B he hears his name - 'Wheeler.'
The following day Wheeler asks Ms Pratchett if she has always lived in the house -
"The house has passed through so many generations of my family," Ms Pratchett said. "But there is no one left to leave it to. It ends with me."
As if underscoring her comment, the calliope music playing in the other room stopped. Wheeler looked at the woman, who was silent.
"What was just playing?"
"A music box my grandmother gave me. Sometimes it just kicks on by itself."
Wheeler likes the direct and grandmotherly Ms Pratchett who has stories to tell. They talk about the fact that the train line out back hasn't been used in decades and that there was a terrible train crash on the line involving a circus in 1918. All intriguing stuff but he is looking forward to his 6 AM wake-up call and getting back to New York the following day.
"The wind is picking up," she said "We're gonna have some storm tonight. You may not be going anywhere in the morning."
"Oh, my plane will be leaving, and I'll be on it."
Famous last words.
For the first five chapters Destiny on the Tracks shifts between current day and 1918. Between Wheeler and McGowan & Flannigan's circus that is bound for Chicago next stop. More specifically it shifts between Wheeler Reynolds and twenty year old Nicola.
|A bit of poetic licence by me :)|
Meanwhile, Wheeler is hearing his name whispered again, sees an apparition on the tracks, hears the sound of animals, and a train -
"I thought I heard a whistle and brakes last night."
The elderly woman laughed. "You're hearing the whistles of the past. That's what my grandmother used to tell me."
From chapter six onwards events occur that draw Wheeler into 1918. He's staying in the same house, still as a guest, but Ms Pratchett is not the owner. He's not certain of his exact reasons for being in 1918 but it must be to do with the train crash. The whispers of his name and the train he hears and sees on a line that is closed. He's drawn to the arriving circus and for the first time he sees Nicola, and Nicola sees him. It is love at first sight and everything that occurs from chapter six onwards is a build to their developing relationship and whether or not Wheeler can stop the inevitable train crash,
save Nicola, and have a relationship with one man - the first time he has ever wanted to know a person's name let alone wanting to share his life with him. He may be living in 1918, he may not know how he will get back to current time, but, no mater what, he will have Nicola by his side. I won't say any more as it is best read to enjoy.
I wasn't sure if I was going to become emotionally engaged in this story (it's approximately 88 pages) but I definitely became engaged. I raced through the pages to see what would happen to the MC's. The secondary characters were also memorable in their own way - from Ms Pratchett through to Catherine, Penelope, Emilio and Maurice the Magician.
The primary problem for the ebook is its lack of length, particularly given there are more than two POV on occasion. It would have been a better book with yet further character development but, having said that, a good job is done in the pages allocated. The story was lovely. I liked the protagonists and I really wanted, hoped for something nice for them both. I knew going in that this book was a Bittersweet Dreams title. So I could guess that the ending would not be stock standard, but I just had to know what would happen to both Wheeler and Nicola.
Destiny on the Tracks encompasses a few themes - time travel, contemporary and historical themes, a bit of an urban legend/fairy tale feel, romance, a first time sexual encounter, and a journey that I thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, it has a bittersweet ending, but I liked it nonetheless. Don't let that put you off. If you like any of these themes I mentioned then I definitely recommend Destiny on the Tracks.
4 Fated Stars.
This book was supplied by the publisher, Dreamspinner Press, in return for an honest review.