Review: Past Perfect
There are a lot of tales of forbidden love. Love between two warring families. Love between vampires and mortals. Werewolves and humans. Angels and humans. Faeries and humans. (People really need to stop trying to hook up with paranormal creatures; clearly it was NOT meant to be.) Anyhow, you get the idea.
It is not until Leila Sales’ Past Perfect that there has been such a moving and hilarious tale of forbidden love between two such different people: a Colonial reenactor and a Civil War reenactor. Chelsea and Dan wear different costumes. They work in different time periods. And their fellow employees are at war. Chelsea and Dan hooking up would be an act of betrayal. But maybe every war needs a Benedict Arnold.
Past Perfect is not only the perfect book for history nerds, it is also a fun, flirty, hysterical book for lovers of contemporary fiction. After all, Past Perfect is set in the present. And in the past. According to Chelsea, history and the present are all happening in the same time, but that doesn’t mean people can’t change, and change she does. Like any teenager, Chelsea has a lot to learn about family, friendship, and romance, and her journey through the awkwardness of adolescence is pure pleasure to read. With a voice as snarky, conversational, and confessional as Jessica Darling, Chelsea is a character who is sure to stick with you.
This novel ranks as one of my favorites because it strikes a perfect balance of humor and seriousness. There are plenty of one liners, but the quips are matched by deeper explorations of the relationship between past and present and the impact that relationship has on the people of both time periods. Past Perfect is quirky and clever, but fans of romance will also appreciate some of its steamier moments. (Those who have read the book already will likely agree that Sales deserves some commission on trampoline sales. Enough said.) Beyond that, Sales also expertly develops the unique setting, vividly portraying the reenacting villages, which allows them to serve as characters in their own right.
There’s a little something for everyone here. Well, except for people who like to be bored. There’s nothing for those people in this book, I’m afraid. Everyone else should definitely read Past Perfect; it’s the kind of book I know I’ll be relentlessly shoving in peoples’ hands.