This is a difficult review for me to write. While I liked the book, I had several issues with it.
This is a gentle novel. It’s a slow moving story about a young couple who move into their new home and are on the cusp of new phase in their lives: They are about to start a family. Only, real life demands like work and economy conspire to keep them apart. Tom’s new job demands he travel far away and for long periods of time. And there’s trouble closer to home too. Namely Holly’s own insecurities about becoming a mother. That’s a good set up for a character centric story where a character faces her own fears and learns to overcome them. Unfortunately, the story shifts into something completely different.
Holly finds a forgotten moondial that gives her a chance to see eighteen months into the future. She sees her unborn child, falls in love, and suddenly loses all her doubts about becoming a mother. What bothers her from thereon isn’t her fears about being a bad mother, it’s her perfectly natural self-protective instinct—her will to live. Holly never doubts her love for Tom or for the unborn, un-conceived, child. She doubts her choice to put her own life first.
What’s worse, Holly confides in a total stranger without ever considering asking her husband’s opinion. Admittedly confiding in him about the supernatural time machine—sort of—would make her sound like a crazy person, but she could at least talk with him in hypotheticals. When writing out their five year plan, neither Holly nor Tom stop to ask the other a single what if question. What if Tom quits the job he hates and do something he likes? What if Holly can’t get pregnant? What if there’s a problem with the pregnancy? What if Tom was asked to choose between Holly and the baby? Who would he choose.
Brooke does a huge disservice to Tom’s character keeping him so far away from the story and all of the decision, and doing so Brooke also undermines her main character, Holly. She comes across like a selfish, manipulative shrew instead of the loving wife and would-be mother Brooke would have us believe in. Holly selfishly manoeuvres Tom’s career in the direction she wants it to go, she selfishly decides not to conceive and then changes her mind about it. And all this happens because of visions that could as easily be hallucinations of a sick mind as flashes from the future. She risks everything because she thinks she knows best.
The epilogue and the “about the author” part convinced me that above all else this book was written to be wish fulfilment. Nothing more, nothing less. A wish.
Despite all this, I liked novel. I liked the writing, the charm and the magic of it.
<i>I received an Edelweiss ARC of this book from the publisher.</i>
Pages: 336 (paperback)
Published: February 12th 2013