"Engrossing Native American Time Travel"

A LOVE BEYOND TIME is the tale of a female white anthropologist, Ryan Burke who travels back in time to 1876 Montana to the site of the Little Big Horn confrontation. Burke arrives at the site in 1999 to participate in an important dig and immediately finds conflicts and mysteries. Sacred objects are disappearing from the dig. She is a cultural anthropologist whose objective is to record the memories passed down to descendants and thus she has contact and befriends thetribal community. After a storm destroys her tent, she is given an old tipi by one of the elders, who also beseeches her help in stopping the removal and thefts. One night after the vehicle has borrowed breaks down, she walks the long distance back to the camp and goes directly to sleep in the tipi. She wakes in 1876 in the middle of the last great tribal campsite on the eve of the battle of the Little Big Horn.

It turns out that she is in the tipi of an indian warrior, Sunkmanitu Ceye a Pelo or Wolf. Indian custom designates that her presence indicates her serious intentions toward this warrior but her appearance is a mystery. Wolf also has troubles of his own, having fallen in battle and not remembering very much. Another warrior, Iron Soldier maintains that he saw Wolf die on the field and that this warrior is a ghost. Wolf seeks counsel from a tribal elder and finds support for himself and the advice that he is to consider this strange woman a wife, she is wakan or sent by their gods and has a great purpose here. They do develop a relationship and fall in love as husband and wife. Ryan also finds intellectual satisfaction and personal happiness living with the indian nation though she knows what will happen here. Custer is already on his way to meet his fate. She also knows that honor compels her to complete her task of helping to trap the thief in the future whether or not she remains in the past with Wolf as her heart longs to do. It had been determined that she must set a trap for the thief by making a spirit bundle in which she will place one of her earrings. She must bury it in the right spot for the thief to dig up and thus set a trap to reveal him. The elder in the present day seems confident that she will come back and be able to help trap the thief.

Not usually a TT reader, I was engrossed by the story. Aitken did a fair amount of research into Lakota customs and she also put a bit of mystery in the story as well. There is an unusual twist in that Ryan and the actual hero, the present day Dillon Wolf (a Lakota who is a lawyer and activist) do not physically meet until the end of the book. They do fall in love in the past though, I just won't say how. I will say that they do meet, fall in love and marry according to Lakota customs in the past.

At first I felt that Iron Soldier, the villain in the past, was a little heavily drawn and maybe unnecessary since the battle with Custer was only days away but since the Indians actually won this battle, he was necessary to provide the motivation for the heroine to return to the future and conclude the mystery. He proved to be the device to break her link to the past. Also, I may be easy to fool, but I was surprised by the identity of the villain in the present. Ms. Aitken did give us hints but she fooled me with a decoy.

Judie Aitken has a hit with this debut effort. Not only did her research enrich the story, there was enough story to sort the romance. She created good, strong supporting characters in both eras. She dealt realistically with how our modern sensibilities might perceive Lakota customs and is no apologist. She does not try to justify overly to modern morality but she has Wolf remind Ryan (and us) he is a man of his time and that the Lakota look on things a bit differently than whites did and do. The conclusion was a little quick for me and I wanted a few more chapters to bring the H/H together. Overall, a nice balance with the bulk of the story taking place in the past and the HEA in the present.

I want to thank the list for bringing this book to my attention. as I might not have read it otherwise. It was worth the read and I hope that Ms. Aitken tries her talents in other areas of romance as well. She might write an excellent romantic suspense or mystery.

Lisa Baca / December, 2000
Copyright 2000 for PNR Reviews

Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted February 14, 2002


A Love Beyond Time
by Judie Aitken

Jove Pubns
January 1, 2000
ISBN #0515127442
304 pages
Add to Shopping List
Order from Amazon

Other Books by
Judie Aitken

Secret Shadows
Distant Echoes
A Place Called Home

EBook Isle Bookstore hosted by Fresh Fiction