The Time Before Now by Missouri VaunA Time Before Now by Missouri Vaun is the novel I was waiting for from Missouri Vaun. It feels like she has finally hit her writing groove. Don’t get me wrong. I have enjoyed her other books, but this one stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. Her characters are deeper, her events are more explored and it really makes one feel.

A Time Before Now is about Vivian and Ida. We met these characters in her first novel, All Things Rise, as Cole’s aunts. This time Vaun has taken us back in time to tell us the story of how they met and the personal struggles that came with that journey.

At the beginning of the novel Vivian is working on a farm, she is contemplating leaving her horrid boss behind when his sister comes on to her. Her gut keeps telling her to leave but her hormones won’t listen until a nasty incident that forces her to leave with nothing much to her name and a terrible burn.

Ida is heading back home to her brother and his wife and child (Cole). Ida left after her mother died and now feels the call of home again. She joins a family who is traveling in the same direction in order to be a little safer. One night a woman (Vivian) approaches them and asks to share their campfire. She offers a rabbit for dinner and is welcomed. Ida feels an instant attraction and is more than happy to get to know the new arrival but Vivian is deeply damaged by her former lover and is unwilling to let herself feel her attraction to Ida.

The novel follows their journey back to Ida’s farm and then what happens once they reach the farm. Throughout, there is the internal battle that rages in Vivian.

The Characters

One of the things I love about Missouri Vaun’s writing is that she doesn’t follow the rules. Her sex scenes are exciting and different and her characters are tortured by their own insecurities and selfishness.

That’s right, Vivian is selfish and thinks things that make her ashamed. Vivian is less than perfect. She is real. When last did you read a character in a romance that wasn’t just pining away for the woman? When last did you read about a hero who was genuinely human?

When I read the novel I could see myself and my own selfish thoughts reflected in Vivian. No one is proud of those thoughts, but Vaun took us right there and showed us the beautiful and the ugly.

The result?

Brilliance.

The Writing Style

The internal journey is just one facet of the story, though. Do not be fooled into thinking that it is some sort of artsy deep book. It isn’t. It is a fun, fast paced scifi novel with many things happening and frankly, I am amazed that Vivian survives long enough to make an appearance in All Things Rise.

Vaun has a no nonsense writing style. She spends just enough time on something to let you know what is happening without over explaining. This makes the story tick along nicely.

The Pros

This is a fantastic read. It is something different from the traditional romances.

Missouri Vaun has just come into her own as a writer and I cannot wait to see what journey she takes me on next.

The Cons

There wasn’t more of Elizabeth (the sister of the farm owner). She is one twisted individual and a fantastic character. I would love to see more of Elizabeth in an upcoming novel.

Okay, so I know that the covers are hand drawn by a really great artist. I really like her work. But I just do not like the covers of the Vaun novels and this one is no exception. It is not that the drawings are bad, but it is more that they really aren’t used well and turned into a cover of a novel you want to read. They feel like they are rushed and not polished. Vaun’s work deserves better.

sheena's favouriteThe Conclusion

This is on my must-read list. If you enjoyed her previous novels, you will enjoy this even more. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I read this and took the journey with Ida and Vivian.

Excerpt from A Time Before Now by Missouri Vaun

Vivian became hyper aware of Elizabeth’s nearness. Vivian let the box fall back onto the shelf and lowered her arms slowly, as if trying not to spook the beautiful young woman staring up at her. Elizabeth reciprocated by sliding her hands down Vivian’s rib cage. Both of them exhaled sharply at the physical contact.

“What are you doing?” Vivian kept her hands up and out at her sides, as if waiting to catch something that was about to fall.

Elizabeth grabbed Vivian’s shirt, just above where it was tucked into her belt. “What does it seem like I am doing?”

“Whatever it is, it’s not a good idea.” Vivian said the words even though they were at odds with her heart, and her libido.

She felt Elizabeth release her shirt and step away from her. The loss of contact stirred something in Vivian.

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 9781626394674

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Missouri Vaun Online

Note: I received a free review copy of this book for review. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always endeavour to review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.