Book review

Sidebar to Review of Catherine Taylor’s “Beyond the Moon”

While I read Catherine Taylor’s debut novel “Beyond the Moon,” I remembered two other novels where main characters switch bodies and lives hundreds of years apart from each other. In Laurie Viera Rigler’s Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict,” Courtney Stone was drunk on Absolut, wearing her wedding dress, as she despaired of her broken engagement. She had an accident at home and woke up in the body of Jane Mansfield in Regency England. Rigler picked up the story in “Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict” from the point of view of Jane Mansfield (I think she fell from her horse) as she navigated life as Courtney Stone in 21st century Los Angeles. Rigler’s novels were enjoyable time-traveling romps. Very entertaining and comical. She answers the question: “What would it be like if I lived in Jane Austen’s time?” as well as “What if Jane Austen lived in 21st century Los Angeles?” (Things like on-demand access to running water, for example, might mean Jane would take several showers a day just because she can.)

I was reminded also of my favorite time-travel movie, “Kate and Leopold” with Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, and Liev Schreiber. Leopold (Jackman) followed time-traveler Stewart (Schreiber) from 1876 to the 21st century. Leopold has to go back or Stewart won’t exist – well, at least in the director’s cut.   Spoiler alerts if you haven’t seen this movie: Toward the end, Kate (Ryan) sees herself in pictures from 1876 and asks how that’s possible. Stewart tells her, “Theoretically, if you go to the past in the future then your future lies in the past. This is a picture of you in the future – in the past.” (That’s confusing only if you let reason and logic try to drive, so let imagination take the wheel.) I thought Stewart’s explanation was true for the characters in “Beyond the Moon. And that’s all I’m going to say on that note to avoid spoiling your enjoyment.

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