I am licking my lips over the delicious confection that is Ten Minutes Past Teatime by Elizabeth Chatsworth. Mind you, I’m not talking about anything so tenuous and fluffy as whipped cream or cotton candy confections. No, Elizabeth’s short story tour de force is a big slab of hot apple pie with a chunk of cheddar cheese on the side – spicy, gooey, and not too sweet like the pie, sharp, funky, and memorable like the cheese.
I told you it was delicious.
Where to start, where to start, and how to explain. I’m almost at a loss.
First, there’s intelligent humor – I snorted out loud at her suffragette comment – it’s worth a read just for that one line alone. There’s action in the form of unexpected crashes and violent clashes; there’s a moody, almost primitive Irish atmosphere; there’s time travel from one colorful point in the past to an even more colorful point in the way-back past; there are twists and turns that I can’t describe for fear of giving away the story; and there are Vikings! Vikings who also happen to be pirates! Led by a kick-ass, sword-wielding shield maiden named Alfhild.
Whew! Eat your heart out, Steven Spielberg.
BTW, Have I only just mentioned the strong women characters? It’s dripping with them, strong women characters who take no crap from anyone. Who wear clothes I want to wear to Burning Man some day. Who know what they want and go out and get it. Yes!
The fact that it’s all seasoned with satisfying hints of girl-on-girl action rolled into an adventure that gushes steampunk is just icing on the cake. Or ice cream on the pie if we want to stick with my current analogy.
Whatever, right? But, seriously, it’s a fun-filled, page-turning rollick of a read.
Again, I can’t go into details because one, it’s a short story and two, trust me, you want to read it for yourself, but what I can share is that you’ll wish it were a full-blown novel. That gets made into a blockbuster movie. Or possibly fleshed out into a made-for-TV series. I’d watch that any day of the week.
As for her characters, Elizabeth has a gift for dialogue – not unexpected for a woman whose day job is voice-over actor. Her main character, Minerva, a Victorian spinster scientist, had me in stitches and I couldn’t help but mentally read everything in an English accent. As I’ve said, the touches of humor are brilliant, and the ending, well, it’s…it’s…OMG, I want to tell you so bad, but won’t. Read it and get back to me so we can bond over it, okay? Okay.
My only complaint is that it’s too short. I wanted more, more, more, more. I’ve never been one to put on the brakes when it comes to dessert or good books, and that includes well-written short stories like Ten Minutes Past Teatime. I hope there’s a sequel. Or, better yet, I hope I stumble upon a time machine that lets me flit back to when she started writing this juicy nugget of fun so I can whisper into her ear, “Keep going, girlfriend. This is a keeper.”
Ten Minutes Past Teatime can be found in the Amazon best-seller, When To Now: A Time Travel Anthology in addition as a separate, stand-alone read. Hers was my first selection in this collection – I bought the anthology – and I hope to devour more stories over the coming weekend. But if you find yourself stuck at your child’s dance class or soccer practice, pull out your Kindle, dig in, and watch your time fly by too.
For a taste of what’s to come from Elizabeth Chatsworth, follow the link below and listen in on her voice-over excerpt of her novel, The Brass Queen.
Last, but certainly not least, click below for an Amazon purchase link for Ten Minutes Past Teatime. You can thank me later. Or sooner if you get to that time machine before I do. 😉