Thank you to crooked lane books for the opportunity to read this. I received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating of a strong 3.5
Where do I even begin? Let me start with, this book has a LOT going on, and at times gets a bit tangled and a little confusing, however, this doesn’t take away from the fact that there was a great story somewhere in there. This is a decent effort on a debut novel, and I applaud the author’s efforts. There was a mix of genres which I found interesting, mystery, science fiction, romance, drama, I believe it worked well and made the story more interesting. There was, obviously, a lot revolving around psychology and the effect on the human brain that time travel could have.
Our story opens in the year 1967, under the narration of Barbara, one of four female pioneers involved in the invention of time travel. Actual time travel. Our other pioneers are Margaret, Lucille and Grace, these characters are revisited throughout the story. The narration jumps between timelines, the most prevalent being 2017, 2018 and 1967, however more timelines are visited as well, the POV also jumps between many characters. I found the most interesting side of the story to be from Odette and Bee/Barbara (2017 version), and also Fay. Some of the other characters offered unique insight into particular events, but sometimes I felt it was unnecessary.
So, in 1967 four women create time travel, one of them, Barbara, has a mental break on public broadcast which casts a doubt over whether time travel is really safe to explore. This humiliates Margaret, and Barbara is then removed from the team, never to be welcomed back. Switch to 2017 and we are introduced to Ruby, Barbara’s grand daughter, who is a psychologist, and doesn’t know much at all about her grandmother’s amazing early life as a time traveler. After a knock at the door, Ruby finds an origami rabbit addressed to Barbara, it’s a notice of inquest about a death that happens in 2018, an elderly woman in her 80’s. Ruby instantly fears the worst, that this is an inquest into Barbara’s death. This sparks off the main plot point of the story, in my opinion, who is the woman, and who killed her? Along with this plot line, we have the evolution of the conclave from three women into hundreds across time, we learn more about different places in time and how time travel is used. One thing that I noticed straight off the bat, time travelers can interact with their older or younger selves, with no consequence. I found this strange as I’ve never encountered this in any story pertaining to time travel. Usually if one interacts with another self, the whole kit and caboodle comes crashing down. So this was definitely and interesting take.
I’ve been thinking about the point of so many POVs in this story, and I believe, in my opinion, that the author was also aiming for a grander point. What I noticed about the other characters and their small bit of story, was that the common theme seemed to be, no matter what, you can’t change fate. If something is meant to happen, then it will happen.
Overall, this was an interesting story, I’m still torn on how I feel about it to be honest. I really enjoyed Odette and Barbara’s story arcs as stated earlier, and I feel like some of the other arcs added opinion and a different take on the main story I was enjoying. I do think that the story may have been made a little less complicated if some of these extra POVs were taken out. Some of them I feel didn’t really add much, they would, however, make for a revisit to this world. I would love to see an expansion on some things, and I believe that there is so much potential for further exploration into this world and its characters.