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Fantasy Romance

  My doorbell rang, as I opened the front door, I expected to see the Amazon  delivery guy scurrying back to his truck. There was no one there, but they left a  small parcel on my doorstep. I picked it up and looked at the name and address, it  was indeed addressed to me.  It was in an unfamiliar hand and someone had  taken great care in wrapping it and addressing it. I unwrapped it carefully and  

found small leather-bound volume of Shakespeare's Sonnets. The copyright  date read 1820. ‘Who would be sending me 200-year-old volume of  Shakespeare’s Sonnets?’ I thought to myself out loud.  There was no return  address and no way for me to determine who sent it.  There was an inscription, it  

read: To my Darling Victoria, on your twenty-fifth birthday, it was dated 1861.  I was confused. Today was my twenty-fifth birthday, but this awesome little  book was dated 1861. It was sent from England, as far as I could tell from  postage on it. I didn’t know anyone in England, but my family all came from  there. I had always had an interest in ancestry and family history, I hadn’t  gotten as far as my great-great grandmother in my search but now I that I had 

something solid to go on, I was on a mission. 

    She immigrated here a few weeks earlier. She came by herself, which  means she left whoever gave her this volume of sonnets behind in England.   How had it ended up with me, on my twenty-fifth birthday, this was the real  question.  I did a little more investigating and discovered that she was a  published poet in England.  This was another revelation. I was a prolific 

writer of poetry myself. 

  These coincidences just kept piling up. I need to sort through them all. I had a  good friend who was also a genealogist, maybe he could shed some light on this.   I decided to pay him a visit. 

  “Hey there, Victoria! How are you doing? It’s been too long!” Lionel  Prescott gushed a little too enthusiastically. 

“Hey there, Lionel. Yes, it has been too long, we need to get together some time soon and catch up.” 

I gushed back, with equal enthusiasm. 

    “What’s up?” He asked, knowing I was there to ask about my great-great  grandmother. He’d been doing some research of his own. 

“Someone sent this to me from England, no return address, no card, no name in the inscription. I have no clue who could have sent it.”  I huffed in frustration. 

“Let’s have a look.” I handed him the small volume of sonnets.  

    “Look at the inscription, and the date on the title page.” I prompted. “I need to know if you can find out who sent this to me. I think it may be connected with  my great-great grandmother. Can you find out who sent it for me?” 

“Of course, I can, it’s really a rather simple process. I’ll do a handwriting  analysis on it and then compare it with the signatures of the people who through Ellis Island that year.” 

    “Sounds good. How long will it take?” I asked, I didn’t want that book out of my hands for any length of time. 

“Just a few days.” He answered distractedly, he was already poring over  immigration documents from Ellis Island, after 1863. 

 “Okay, I’ll just leave you to it then.” I said as headed for the door. 

Call me as soon as you know something. I wrote my name and number on a  Post-it note and handed to him. As he took it from me, our fingers touched and a tangible energy passed between us.

   He completed the analysis in just a few days as he said he would, but he really  didn't need to. He called her to come back so he could share the results with her. 

   “You found something!” I was very excited. 

“I did indeed.” He showed me the results of the analysis and comparison he had  done, he told her that it was a perfect match for his great-great grandfather, also named Lionel Prescott and they looked exactly alike. 

   “How is this even possible?” I asked, shaking my head in disbelief. 

“Did you have a look through this little volume before you brought it to me?” I thought it an odd question but answered honestly. “Well, no.” I admitted. 

He opened it to the dead center to Sonnet 18 which ends: ‘As long as men can  breathe, or eyes can see, so long lives this, and this gives life to thee.’ 

  “It’s one of my favorites. “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” I took  

it from him and started to read it aloud. As I read the last line I gasped and took a startled step back. 

     I looked at him with a mixture of sadness and disbelief. “I saw you in 1861  England, sending this same volume of Shakespeare's Sonnets to me in 1861  America, in time for my birthday.”  I blurted it out. The truth of it slamming into me like a runaway freight train. “But how?” I stammered. 

He took it gently out of my hands and looked lovingly into my eyes. “This little book is apparently a time portal. When you read through different poems, you can see what your beloved was doing at that time. I was reading that poem, it remined me so much of you. The bookshop owner said it was too lovely a  volume to gather dust on a bookshop shelf and he gave it me with a knowing  smile.   

   “I knew you were leaving because I overheard your conversation with your  employer at the publishing house and heard you asking for possible opportunities  in America. You gave him your address, and so I sent you this little volume so  

you would have it on your birthday in 1861. 

   “But if you sent it to me in the past, how is it that I was here now, to receive it.  I have no memory of-” I stopped in mid-sentence. 

“Yes, my love. You read every sonnet and everything seemed normal, when got to Sonnet 18, it transported you here to this time, to me. Because just as the sentiment of that sonnet is timeless; love is also timeless. I’m not exactly certain of how these things transpired, but I am certain that we were meant to be  

together, and that it has something to do with this little book how we found each other again.   

  “So, are you ready to rewrite history, my love?”  We each put our right hand the page that held Sonnet 18 and were swept back into the past, to England, 1861. We had our whole life ahead of us, a life of success and happiness. Just as we  were settling into this new life, the small volume of Sonnets was suddenly nowhere to  

found. 

Many years later a young woman aptly named Victoria Reilly Prescott walked  into a local bookshop looking for volume of Shakespeare's Sonnets for her love,  for his twenty-fifth birthday.  The shop owner pulled a little leather-bound volume of Sonnets from a high shelf saying, “This is too lovely a little volume 

to be left collecting dust on a bookshop shelf. He handed it to her with a knowing smile. 

December 04, 2021 01:31

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1 comment

Tanya Humphreys
00:45 Dec 13, 2021

Hello Mary! Reedsy Critiquer here. Otherwise known as "The Comma-kazi." This story kept me interested until the end, despite the awkwardness of punctuation throughout it. You need to separate sentences with periods where there are commas, to make the story flow correctly. An example: the first sentence should be, "My doorbell rang. As I opened the front door..." Actually, to make even more of a dramatic beginning, I'd start a new paragraph after "My doorbell rang." It's not necessary, but we all know the first few lines need to grab th...

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