Time After Time by Wendy Godding (Released April 2014) via NetGalley.
She has died countless times before, and she is not going to let it happen again.
Abbie Harper dies just before her eighteenth birthday. It has happened before, more times than she can remember — and always at the hands of the same man. Her dreams are plagued with past lives, cut short.
But this latest dream feels different. Her past life as Penelope Broadhurst — an English pastor’s daughter in 1806 — keeps bleeding into her present life in ways both sinister and familiar. As Penelope meets and falls in love with the dashing Heath Lockwood, so too does Abbie meet the brothers Marcus and Rem Knight. One wants to love her; the other to kill her.
Time is running out for Penelope, but as Abbie mourns her inability to change the past, she chases the slim chance to save her future. To survive, she must solve the puzzle of an ancient love story…and Penelope just might be able to help
Well. Ok then. <– this sentiment sums up much of my reaction as I read Time After Time. I felt like it had the potential to be EXTRAORDINARY but it only ended up being ‘good’.
Let’s explore why. What did I like?
Concept – I mean, hoo-boy! That was always going to take something really special to pull it off properly. Reincarnation to repeat a doomed romance between soul mates, plus death, and hotness.. It’s a Milss&Boon trope, right? Godding does a great job, I felt, of making it less LOL and more believable.
Dream sequences – I actually enjoyed the dream sequences involving Penelope and Heath et al, than I did the ‘present day’ scenes.
Heath – Love Heath. He’s channeling a whole era of men in literature, methinks, as is Sebastian. But we’ll come to that later. For now though, let’s just leave it with Heath it Hotness.
Rem – Present day bad boy (or is he?) He was so much fun! Marcus (his goody two shoes brother) is too much of a wet week for me. Throw me into that centuries old love triangle and I’ll sort it out in seconds. Rem please!
What didn’t work for me?
Classic lit fanage – Firstly, let’s take a second to chuckle at the word ‘fanage’. So many uncompromising connotations there. Secondly, I think our author might be a classic literature fan girl. And that’s ok. But let’s analyse it-
- Meet the boy next door ‘Heath Lockwood’ – Really? Heath. Lockwood? Heathcliff. Mr Lockwood.. Wuthering Heights? KACHING!
- Jane Eyre name drops all the time because Abbie is doing an essay on it.
- The ‘mad woman in the attic’ – this unnerved me the most because it’s so flippantly used, over and over. It made me wonder if the whole situation there had been understood? At one point I think Marcus says something to the effect of ‘Yeah, the mad woman in the attic gets me every time’. She has a name. She’s called Bertha. And if anyone has read Wide Sargasso Sea, you’ll forever have a different perspective on the matter. The referencing felt careless, and inappropriately paralleled.
- An Austen – Apart from the ‘dream’ characters themselves that could have stepped out of a Bronte novel, the whole life of Penelope was a total Jane Austen. I think Penelope effectively does a Pride and Prejudice when first meeting and assessing Heath’s character. They’ll judge his manners first, and then later be shamefully relieved to find he’s filthy rich. *nods*
- Penelope – I loved her character. But she’s effectively Lizzie Bennett with Jane Eyre’s artistic flair.
- ‘Is this how you see me?’ – It took me AGES to work this one out, but I knew it was familiar. When Heath (I think it was Heath? Yeah, I’m pretty sure) asks this question, it rang a massive bell! Has anyone else seen the 2011 version of Jane Eyre? Well when Jane has her drawing snatched and shown to St John, he asks ‘Is this how you perceive me?’
I know it looks like I’ve gone overboard on the classic lit argument, but I’m a real fan of the classics too, and I’m really not sure here if it’s clumsy, or a stroke of genius. Either/or.
Abbie – Had some real issues with her character, more so in the first half of the book. If you imagine Cat from 10 Things I Hate About You, and merge her with Cady from Mean Girls- boom! There’s your protagonist.
Seriously, Abbie was just plain rude! To her aunt, to her friends, her co-worker, her boyfriend.. Without the reveal at the end, there was still plenty of motive for Lilly to hate on Abbie, because she’s ‘different’ to the point of being ‘difficult’.
It frustrates me when you find a character that wants to be different, but also wants to be left alone, so naturally, they’re a goth. As Marilyn Manson would say; ‘Ain’t nothin’ but a goth thing.’ I love goth culture (another point, Godding refers to it as a ‘sub-culture’, there is nothing ‘sub’ about that scene) was an active part of it as a teenager and even into my early twenties. I’m much more relaxed about my style now, but I still take a lot of elements from it..
But why couldn’t Abbie be a goth, and rock it? My parents didn’t try and tell me to take the dark make-up off, or to change my clothes, or listen to different music. They didn’t think I was suicidal or self-harming, but then, I was also respectful of my parents. Abbie is a douche to her poor aunt, no wonder she wants her to see a shrink!
Like I said, Abbie really grew on me in the second half of the book. I just wish she had kept her black lipstick. Goths are beautiful too.
Also thinking I should be a little concerned that Abbie goes to see a super-awesome band called ‘Hard Candy’. I’ve seen that film… *shivers*
A good read. The pace really picked up towards the end (yeah, whatever HEA occurs there, good luck explaining that one to the police. Seriously, someone is going to prison..) and I felt so sad for Rem- he’s had the bum end of the deal for all his lives. It was like watching Vampire Diaries, and cheering for Damon, even though you knew she’d always go back to Stefan *rolls eyes*
I’m giving it a happy 3.5 out of 5. It was fun, and engaging, even if I had to slap the table at the use of ‘probably cleverer’ because I’m sure it’s probably not the greatest choice of words.