Monday, February 4, 2019

Review: A PLACE IN TIME by Jacqueline Hanson

Image Graphic designed by Sandra Lopez

Allie is trapped-in an abusive marriage, in a cycle of love and loss. But when a sudden accident jolts her into freedom, she finds herself going back to her hometown in Nebraska and confronting her past. When she reconnects with Jack, the lost love of her youth, she must also face his best friend Andrew, her adversary, and decide whether she can still love Jack, after so much time has passed. Are Allie and Jack soul mates? Or is Allie meant for a new love and Jack to marry the dark and selfish Gina?
A Place in Time is a love story stretching across time and across the wounds we inflict on each other, especially those we love most. Nothing--especially happiness--is ever out of reach.

Available on Amazon

My review: 

Allie could never please her controlling, playboy husband and stopped wanting to. The story begins, drawling into their mundane courtship that led to a grueling marriage. The pace is rather slow, but it quickly relays the struggles and abuse Allie experienced at the hands of her husband, who had always blamed her for killing their child. And ever since, Brian swore to her: "You're never leaving me."

But then a horrific car accident changed it all.

For the first in her life, Allie was free. And the only thing she could think of was...home, for "it resuscitated memories she had long buried... [and she] wanted to go go back to a place in time that should have been forgotten, but never was."  (16) To have a future, she needed to confront the past.

Once home, Allie captures the attention of a man whose only recourse was to use her... until Jack steps in. Even though Jack was involved with someone else, he could not allow this guy to treat her like dirt. You couldn't help but be endeared by his feelings toward Allie.

Overall, the story was well-written and descriptive. Words had such hypnotic beauty, and carried a great sense of melancholy and loss. You admire Allie's attempt to rejuvenate herself and mend her broken image. At times, the pace was a little slow; however, there was also a sense of intrigue.

I guess what made "a place in time"  so significant was the subtle shifts between present and past with Allie recalling forgotten memories and trying to build a future in the present, making it a bit challenging to read at times. You only knew she was in the past whenever she referenced her age. Still, this was a good story of a woman's broken strength and fragile hope.

My rating: 3 stars


As her large green eyes began to close, the cool breeze from the ocean outside her bedroom sang over her still body like a lullaby. The digits on her alarm clock blurred as she took a deep breath in and exhaled. Sleep wanted to take her until the noise of the garage door opening roused Allie. Her eyes shot open, her heart began beating wildly, and her once tranquil body turned rigid. What is he doing home? she wondered as her eyes darted across the room. The Mercedes crawled into the garage next to her Audi. The expensive engine shut down without a hiccup, and a few moments later Allie could hear her husband’s footsteps outside of their bedroom door. She rolled to her side of the bed to face away from him, forcing a steady breath.

She swallowed the fear rising up in her throat, slamming her eyelids shut. She bit her lower lip in anticipation of whether Brian would try to have her, squeezing her eyes tight together praying he wouldn’t touch her. She held her breath . . .

As her husband crept up to their bedroom with some other woman’s perfume clinging to his collared shirt it reminded Allie where he had been all evening. Brian wanted her to wear some sort of fragrance to mask her meddling scent of paint, but in their ten years of marriage he had asked many things of her that she never could give him. She was a failure. She couldn’t make anyone happy, especially her husband. But she didn’t want to please him anymore. As Brian Hancock III entered their bedroom, his blue bloodshot eyes assessed his wife’s perfect body. Her soft blonde locks draped across the pillow. She wore cotton white shorts and a white see through tank top showcasing her petite frame and long runner legs. Brian sat down in the chair by the open French doors studying his wife’s features as she feigned sleeping. Please stop staring at me, repeated through her mind.

What Brian admired most about Allie was her face. It was unlike any visage he had ever seen. As a plastic surgeon it was difficult not to stare in amazement at its resplendency. Not even his grandfather, one of the best plastic surgeons in the nation, could mold such exquisite features. Allie’s thin straight nose rested on the center of her face. As her chest moved up and down her red bow shaped lips parted with every sleepy breath. She had a high forehead that seemed to pull up her eye brows to a uniform arch. The dimples stationed on her cheeks made her expression seem pure every time she smiled. But the most admirable attribute on her was her eyes. The green that radiated from them made people stop in their tracks to stare in awe. They were perfectly round and carried an emerald iris that changed to a chestnut hue when it was dark. When she cried the irises transformed back to a leafy lush pine. Her body frame was tiny but with her addiction to running she managed to build slight curves around her hips and thighs shaping her to be the perfect female form. She didn’t know how striking she was. And Brian wasn’t about to tell her that she could have any man she wants. And he didn’t know how he was going to explain to her the trouble he was in with one of his nurses. He would not let Allie leave him. He couldn’t give up this kind of perfection. If only she could get pregnant . . . she was ruining everything . . . .

He had always thought she was stunning. That was the reason he married her. As for love, well, he never felt that for this stranger lying in his bed. After unlatching his belt, the zipper followed on his Armani dress pants. He tossed his suit on the lounge chair in their bedroom; and then climbed into bed next to the stiff figure facing away from him.

She could feel his eyes on her back. Gently his fingertips ran along the outline of her curves under the silk white sheets. The only time he ever touched her was after he returned home from a night of debauchery. Bourbon clung to his breath as he murmured, “Allie . . . are you up?” He tucked his hairy, rough knees behind her smooth legs, letting his arm drape around her chest. There was no way she would respond. Judiciously she continued to breathe. With the weight of Brian’s arm over her chest, it isn’t easy to fake sleep. His hands trailed along the delicate skin on her arm. The room seemed to be spinning out of control. His touch repulsed her. If she moved. If she let him know she was awake, he would have her. She’d made that mistake before and ended up paying for it too many times. A stabbing feeling of regret swirled around in her stomach, almost forcing a spasm out of her. But she restrained. She had to stay in control.

Her breath ceased for a few moments as she cradled her stomach. She never forgot about the babies’ lives that had inhabited her body. She’d lost all interest in lovemaking. She didn’t feel love.

After several minutes of stroking his wife’s lifeless body, Brian gave up on seducing Allie. Soon passing out from the abundant amount of alcohol in his body, his arm hugging her chest fell limp. She gingerly lifted his hand off her ribs to sneak out of their bed. She tiptoed to her art studio finding a tube of sticky black paint thrown in a cardboard box beside her easel. She squeezed the remainder of liquid into a used yogurt carton, smashing her hands into the container, feeling every gooey ounce douse her skin until each finger is smothered in darkness. Then she slid her fingers down the blank sheet of paper sit- ting on her easel. The squeaking sound erupting from the blank sheet seemed to be screaming at her for sullying its pristine white color. Allie’s shoulders slumped. This was her prison. She was trapped here forever.

For a long time, she stared at the shapes her hands made. Black circles whirled around the page from her palms attached to winding streaks shaped from her willowy fingers. Bleak, dark, murky, and desolate. Emptiness in her stomach. Heaviness in her heart. She sat on the stool in front of the black abyss she created with her head bowed. Brian stirred in bed and Allie’s eyes fearfully found their bedroom door. With her body erect, she slipped out of her white tank and pajama shorts to pull on her tight black Under Armour running shorts and a black sports bra, dashing down the stairs to the front door where her gray New Balance sneakers waited silently for her, she hastily grabbed the shoelaces, twisting the strings between her stained fingers. Then she sprinted toward the Pacific Ocean where its waves crashed against rocks and the sun rose over the bluffs. She let the sun shine down on her face as she gazed up at the beautiful orange ball warming her caramel skin. Entranced by the ocean, she sighed with relief. While jogging through the sand, she was oblivious to the shadow in the bedroom window glaring out at the figure running away from him.

Allie didn’t understand why Brian stayed with her she pondered as she ran sprints on the sand. Allie had known Brian Hancock— Dr. Brian Hancock III, he would always correct—for a short amount of time before he claimed her as his own. He had this gift for enveloping another person’s life, making them think they only needed him, or maybe he just did that to her.

She would never forget the day he shoved his way into her life.

“Hi, I’m Brian Hancock III,” he stated, sitting down next to Allie during their first day orientation for medical students. Nervously she tucked a piece of loose hair behind her ear, nodding her stiff head.

“Well, I know you can speak or you would not be at one of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. So, articulate,” he said.

“Allie . . . I mean, Parker,” she started again. “My name is . . . ”

“Geez! They must let anyone into medical school these days. Tell me how did you ever get in without knowing your name?” he cockily inquired. “I only want to know your name, not the anatomy of the human body. It’s really not supposed to be that complicated.” Then, he smiled, one of his adorable con- descending smiles. A smile she quickly learned to despise.

“My name is Allison Parker,” she said correctly this time frowning from her embarrassment.

He is so perfect echoed in her mind. Her nails nervously found their home between her teeth. Brian looked away with disgust at her bad habit, obviously not used to imperfections. His California-champagne hair was neatly combed back from his forehead as his small astute eyes took pleasure in Allie. He was tall with a bronzed athletic build from competitive rowing at Stanford. He was unshaven with blonde stubble poking out from his crystal-clear skin. It was his hands that Allie noticed first. Each nail was cut the same length and there was no excess skin on the clean nails.

“Hmmm . . . no,” he said. “I am going to call you Allie. I’m not sure if you can live up to the name Allison Parker yet. You seem more like an Allie to me.” She bobbed her head in agreement like some puppet on a string, feeling completely foolish. As Brian surveyed Allie, he knew he had to have her—and he would. This is the type of girl he was slated to marry. And he always gets what he wants. She was perfect. Clearly intelligent, after all she is in one of the top medical schools in the nation. From their first introduction, Brian decided that she didn’t possess the confidence or motivation to finish medical school, which was perfect. He couldn’t have a wife who was an M.D. too. That would ruin his career plans. And she certainly was the textbook kind of beautiful. The type of beautiful that makes you look twice even though you didn’t want to since her beauty is accompanied by an awkwardness. He preferred voluptuous blondes with dark tan skin and pouty lips; he wasn’t really into the classic beau- ties. He loved the fake women and could not wait to be a plastic surgeon to turn as many women as possible into Barbie dolls. As a little boy, he would stare at Barbie dolls in toy stores, desiring someday to have one of his own.

Allie would need to change everything on her body to be a Barbie, Brian evaluated, gauging the petite woman from head to toe. Her unique beauty made her desirable, but sexually she was not for him. No, he wanted the buxom blondes who inhabited Venice Beach, but his patients wouldn’t take him seriously if he married a woman like that. Allie’s school girl innocence, simple attractiveness and docile persona fit his life. His mother would finally get the daughter she always wanted. Eventually she would give him handsome children. He could just picture it now—everyone telling him how lucky he was to have such a lovely wife and gorgeous children. He couldn’t have some bleach blonde following him around convention halls. He wanted to be the best and most respected plastic surgeon in Orange County. Yes, she would fit the part by dutifully taking care of his children while maintaining her elegant appearance. And he would continue his lifestyle as a playboy. He would get everything he wanted because he was Brian Hancock, third generation surgeon, and he always gets what he wants.

Once Allie dropped out of medical school, Brian preferred that she not work to be available for his lifestyle demands such as medical conventions and dinner parties. She was fine with this arrangement because it gave her more time to do what she really loved, which was to spend every waking moment in her art studio or art galleries. The closet that Brian allowed her to use as her studio she filled with canvasses, paint, brushes, sketch pads, and pencils scattered all over the floor and shelves. Brian hated this room and would habitually slam the door shut if he saw it open.

“Why do you waste our money on this crap?” he would scream. “Why can’t you be like normal wealthy women who do not have to work and go get your nails done?”

Never bothering to respond to Brian’s rants, Allie knew he would eventually cool off and leave the house for a couple of days to spend time with his mistress of the month. And life without him was peaceful.

She first found out about Brian’s cheating when they were in medical school together. Halfway through the semester, she had been feeling horrible for a couple of months. It was difficult to wake up in the morning for class. Most of Allie’s nights she spent studying at the library trying to bring up her horrible grades, but it was useless. She had lost her ability to learn this stuff. One night, as she was in the drugstore looking for something to soothe her stomach, she passed by the pregnancy test aisle. And then she knew. This ill- ness was a familiar feeling. Long ago she had this same fatigue in college, picking up a pregnancy test box, she held it firmly in her hand. This was the second time in her life in which she had to take a pregnancy test, terrified of the results. As predicted, it was positive. Maybe this would be the one thing to bring Brian and her together. He was her fianc√©́. He should be happy. For weeks she didn’t have the courage to tell him. He didn’t want them to be parents yet. Brian had a detailed outline for their future, and it didn’t include children until he completed his Fellowship.

Almost falling asleep at the library while listening to music she sketched on the margins of her notepad. She decided to leave early and surprise Brian at his place. It was one month before their wedding, and Allie had to tell him. She knew she could be cold at times, and she wanted to show him that she did actually need him, and she hoped he needed her too. This baby deserved two great parents. Before she told her father that she had to either leave school or get kicked out, she wanted Brian’s assurance. Someone to tell her that every- thing was going to be okay. No matter how hard she tried to concentrate on her studies, she couldn’t retain anything.  

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