This week, in an effort to fulfill some challenges for my book group, I read two novels that dealt with time travel. I’ll admit, there were things I liked about both of them and things that I did not. But I did realize what a tricky subject time travel is in a story. There are many details to consider: how does the person fall into another time? Do they stay or return? Do they bring someone back or leave them forever? Who do they tell? How much does their visit disrupt the future?Let’s take a look at the two books I read, knowing that the concept of time travel is something still unexplored in reality and that a suspension of belief is required in order to embrace it in a plot.
I struggled with both books, but I liked the way time travel was handled more in Forever You, by Leah Busboom. If you’ve seen the movie Kate & Leopold, with its lightning strike and time portal, then you’ll have an idea of the way country singer, Lacy, accidentally jumps from 2021 to 1855 in the blink of an eye. Half of the book is her life in the past, half of it is in the present. She grapples with the lack of modern conveniences and is very self-aware of what she can and cannot endure in an era when everything was more difficult. She never tries to be someone she isn’t and makes some hard choices. The events of the past and present are sewn together in a clever way and, though the story itself is a bit syrupy, I appreciated that it stayed focused on Lacy and her two important relationships without a lot of external distractions. 8.5/10 Stars
What the Wind Knows, by Amy Harmon, is mainly set in Ireland. In 2001, writer Anne Gallagher travels from New York to the Emerald Isle to scatter her beloved grandfather’s ashes. In a swirl of mist and fog she is transported eighty years into the past, landing in 1921 amidst the Irish War of Independence. She is mistaken for her namesake (her great grandmother) who had gone missing, and must adjust to the time period and the questions about her sudden “reappearance.” Revolutionary Michael Collins and his crusade for Ireland’s freedom from Britain play large roles, forcing the reader to juggle a lot of names, events, historical facts, and fictional characters. The writing is lovely, especially as Anne spends time with long-deceased family members, but I felt like the story was trying to accomplish too much, which became tiresome. I would’ve preferred a trimmed-down version without the political drama. The ending, while hopeful, felt a bit forced in order to gift wrap a satisfying conclusion. 8/10 Stars