Author: Gwyn Cready
ISBN:  978-1-4391-0724-9

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Right off the bat the reader is engaged in a time-travel adventure of monumental proportions.  Peter is “between lives.”  He has just let behind a life where he was truly in love with a woman named Ursula, who was his muse as he succeeded in his job of royal portraitist to the court of Charles II.  In fact, Peter inherited the job from Van Dyck, an artist for Charles I, who became infamous for his somewhat embarrassing pictures of the lustful “happenings” in the royal Court.  Van Dyck was famous, as well, for the picture of the Girl with the Corral Earring.  Through his paintings, he advertised the gossip and serious affairs of state, much like the “Enquirer” does for us in our time.

 Peter, as we begin, is standing with the men from the Executive Guild – a group that manages the souls passing through the afterlife.  Peter is currently between lives and has been called upon to stop a woman by the name of Campbell Stratford, a historian/novelist in our present day world, who is throwing herself into writing a tell-all biography of the great painter, Van Dyck.  The Executive Guild wants no embarrassment whatsoever happening in the future for the painters of the past.   Not only that, but they know that this woman has discovered a time portal by accident, and has been visiting the Great Beyond.  Campbell has been traveling back in time garnering the information she needs to further her career in the present-day world, and her next salacious tell-all biography of a seventeenth-century painter has the Guild nervous beyond all doubt.  Sir Peter Lely returns to his former life, with a heavy heart missing his dear Ursula, to do what the Guild requires.

Campbell Stratford is running around the museum trying to “land” a very pricey piece of art for the museum’s collection.  She is, in fact, competing with her snooty sister who calls herself Anastasia, for the job of curator.  The head of the museum is stepping down, and Campbell must prove that she is far better for the job than her stuck-up sibling.  Unfortunately, that same sibling has had a book published, with a new book deal lingering in the near future, and she feels there is no one better for the job than her. 

Campbell’s own publisher likes her Van Dyck biography, but thinks that it needs more of a hook; the book needs “spark” in order to be published.  Campbell, determined to beat her sister, “jumps” on Amazon and immediately finds a book that tells about the “inner world” of the art scene during Van Dyck’s life.  As she stares at the screen, the images waver in front of her and…click – she immediately finds herself standing in a room full of women waiting for their “close-up” from Sir Peter Lely – the most handsome and elegant painter they’ve ever met.

Hilarity ensues as Campbell tries to use the names of motion picture actors and actresses in order to find a way to tell a lie to the face of the extremely handsome man.  Her modern day tones, ideas, and vernacular are extremely humorous as she goes up against a century that has long ago retired into that good night.

The writer does a wonderful job from the scenery to the humor but, unfortunately, I didn’t read the first one of these books, so at the beginning I was extremely confused about the time-travel; the Guild; and this woman Ursula.  My advice is to pick up this author’s first books before Flirting with the next.

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