I've gotten bored with my book review format so I'm trying something new. Rather than reading a book and then commenting on it when done, I'm going to write a little at several points during my reading--questions in my mind, phrases that struck me, thoughts about the characters. What do you think of my new format?
About the Book:
Isla has fled the city for small-town Missouri in the wake of a painful and exhausting year. With her chronic anxiety at a fever pitch, the last thing she expects is to meet a genuine romantic prospect. And she doesn’t. But she does get a text from a man who seems to think he’s her husband. Obviously, a wrong number—except when she points this out, the mystery texter sends back a picture. Of them—on their wedding day.
Isla cautiously starts up a texting relationship with her maybe-hoax, maybe-husband Ewan, who claims to be reaching out from a few years into the future. Ewan knows Isla incredibly well, and seems to love her exactly as she is, which she can hardly fathom. But he’s also grieving, because in the future, he and Isla are no longer together.
Ewan is texting back through time to save her from a fate he is unwilling to share—and all she can do to prevent that fate is to learn to be happy, now, in the body she has, with the mind she has. The only trouble is the steps she takes in that direction might be steps away from a future with Ewan.
Melissa Baron’s time-crossed romance features a quintessentially endearing and brave protagonist, and an engrossing plot that will keep you turning pages until its breathtaking finish.
In the Beginning...
In the first couple of chapters, readers learn that Isla, the main character, is an artist who suffers from anxiety. She recently moved to a new city. She is an introvert. She gets a text message from a man who claims to be her husband and who knows enough details about her life that he can't just be dismissed as a crackpot. Talk about a hook!
Who is this guy? Isla recently lost her mom and it is mentioned that she suffered a nervous breakdown. Is he a husband she has forgotten? Is he a figment of her imagination? Is someone playing games with her? Is it a time travel novel? Yup, I'm ready to read on.
A Little Further In....
He gave Isla the answer to the "Who is this guy?" question I asked, but I'm not sure I believe him.
Ila is an interesting character. She clearly suffers from mental illness. She was close to her now-dead mother but is not close to her Dad-she didn't even tell him she was moving to St. Louis but he heard about it through the grapevine. People give her anxiety but she has best friend, Willow, who is always there for her, and at work she has made friends with two young single women. However, for all her anxiety (or because of it?) she was eager to move away from all that was familiar and start over in life.
I've never suffered from the debilitating anxiety that plagues Isla, but I chose to leave my hometown for the big city in part because I never felt like I belonged.
Another Night's Reading
Now something has happened that makes me wonder even more if I was right not to trust what the husband, Ewan, said about how he fit in the story. I'm also getting a real view of how strong Isla is, despite her mental illness. And I LOVE her best friend.
75% of the Way Through
The romance is progressing, and we've gotten a chance to meet Isla's dad (no mystery why she suffers from anxiety now). I could just hug Ewan for how he handled Isla's dad, and on the other hand I can SO relate to her request to Ewan not to speak for her. Loved a section on silence and conversation. The last chapter of this reading session ends with what sounds like a throw-away detail--but if it isn't meaningful, why is it there? I wonder if it relates to the set-up for the book/their relationship?
Some Words That Struck Me
"They rarely spoke...preferring instead the silence of shared grief. It weighed as much as wet summer air in New Orleans." I live in New Orleans, how an I not love that sentence?
"When there was too much noise, too much stimulation, her thoughts scattered to the four corners of the earth, and she found it hard to participate in conversations were too many people were talking. It became harder to express her opinion because, if no one asked for it, they clearly didn't want it." My in-laws (a boisterous loving Italian family) thought me stand-offish because I could never get a word in edgewise.
What Worked...and What Didn't
What worked was the characters. Isla had me in her corner from the start. She puts up a strong front and the collapses in private. Life is hard, but she keeps on living. Ewan is a sweetheart and his two gay friends were shown as people, not caricatures or simply walking sex lives. Isla's dad manages to make quite an impression during his short time on stage.
What didn't was the whole resolution to the time line thing. It just felt forced and unsatisfying.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley. Grade: B.