The Psychology of Time Travel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

This is a highly original speculative fiction novel with sci-fi, romance and murder mystery elements,  by a first time author who manages to pull a story together brilliantly despite multiple time lines and character perspectives. Much like last year’s “7 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” this is a bit of a brain melter but is totally worth the extra attention required.

In the late 1960s, four female scientists, working out of a remote base in Scotland, invent a time machine and become known as the Pioneers, rapidly developing the technology and creating an institution to control it, known as the Conclave, which has its own laws, ethics, culture, training system and politics. Ousted early on after a psychotic break triggered by too much time travel, Barbara has led a quiet life for the following fifty years, but when she receives a report of a mysterious death, her grand daughter Ruby, a psychologist, gets involved to try and protect her. Meanwhile Odette, a young woman from Seychelles who longs to be a detective, finds the body and, suspecting a cover up, joins the Conclave to solve the mystery.

I loved that this was a book, about the traditionally male theme of time travel, where all the main characters are women, and some of them are not white, and some of them are not straight, and this is portrayed in a totally accepting way where nobody’s gender actually matters. I got really sick of people (including my husband) complaining that the latest season of Doctor Who was “too politically correct” as if this was a bad thing, when all it was doing was showing the diversity of modern Britain. Unfortunately DW was let down by crap plots rather than the fact that a woman was in charge, but that is definitely not the case here.

Yes it was hard to remember who was who and how they all connected, it’s a book best read quite quickly so as to keep track, but by noting the time period marked at the start of each chapter, and once the “rules” of time travel were established - quite different to normal sci-fi tropes, it did all slot into place for me. There were perhaps a few unnecessary characters whose arcs didn’t get resolved but I liked the inter-connections between the main protagonists and how good people tackled the moral dilemmas created by unrestricted time travel which was restricted to a select few.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc in exchange for an honest review. The Psychology of Time Travel is available now.
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Over fifty years ago, Margaret, Lucille, Grace, and Barbara worked together without pause until solved the problem of time travel and built a time machine that not only moved bunnies but people. All that work, pressure, and the time travel experience itself was too much for Barbara who had a psychic break during their press conference announcing their discovery. The dogmatic and domineering aristocrat Margaret could not stand for it and banished poor Barbara from anything to do with the Conclave, the bureaucracy she created to manage time travel.

In 2018, Odette discovered a dead body, someone shot in a locked room. She seeks therapy from Ruby Rebello, who happens to be Barbara’s granddaughter. Odette is haunted by the mystery and wants to answer the riddle of how the dead woman ended up in the boiler room. Meanwhile, Ruby is following clues of her own and both are led to the Conclave where Ruby meets Grace and Odette finds a mentor. Can Odette solve the locked room mystery? Will Ruby solve the mysteries in her grandmother’s life? Will Barbara ever get justice?

I think The Psychology of Time Travel is wonderfully inventive and original. However, I almost gave up on the book about a third of the way through. I had no idea where it was going and why it was proliferating so many characters. They came together, but I do think the book might be stronger with fewer characters. I am glad I stuck it out but I found it uneven, much better at the end and the beginning and a bit of a muddle in the middle.

This book is perhaps a little cavalier about paradoxes since it allows a multiplicity of one individual to meet together for a party or one person to perform a pas de deux with herself. Overall I enjoyed and loved the time travel taxonomy that is developed.

The assumption is that time travel hardens people, but perhaps that is the wrong lesson.  Organizations develop in the shape of their founders and the Conclave is as sociopathic as Margaret and that is perhaps the real psychology of time travel.

I received an e-galley of The Psychology of Time Travel from the publisher through NetGalley.

The Psychology of Time Travel at Crooked Lane Books
Kate Mascarenhas author site
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Take The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants + Hidden Figures + Time Travel and you've got The Psychology of Time Travel by  Kate Mascarenhas. The concept is absolutely fantastic - four women invent time travel in the 1960's and soon learn about the devastating effects it can pose. Use of the time travel machine can lead to the traveler experiencing a mental break. This book is exceptionally written and weaves in romance, sci-fi aspects, and even a healthy dash of a whodunit murder mystery.
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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Psychology of Time Travel
by Kate Mascarenhas NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

... A unique and interesting entry in the time travel genre. 

I have always been a huge fan of time travel stories. Kate Mascarenhas’s debut The Psychology of Time Travel focuses on what happens to people's psyche when they travel back and forth in time. What would happen if you could go back in time whenever you wanted and spend a day with loved ones who have passed away? Would it change how you view death? Would you take life for granted? The Psychology Of Time Travel answers these questions.

When four women discover time travel in 1960’s they launch an empire for themselves called “The Conclave” When one of the pioneers, Barbara suffers from a very public psychotic episode she is removed from the team and ostracized. The beginning of the book lays the groundwork for each of their personal journeys and how they adjust to the ability to travel and to meet their future or “silver” selves. Some flourish, some flounder, except for Barbara who is not allowed back and not only loses her purpose but her friends too.

The book picks up in the modern day when Barbara receives a cryptic clue of a death notice about an elderly woman who is murdered in the future. Barbara and her psychologist granddaughter Ruby begin trying to unravel the pieces. There is also a suspicious and puzzling murder of a woman in a small museum which occurs in a locked room with no way in or out. The body is damaged beyond recognition, no one is certain who it is, why they were there or how it happened. When a young museum worker Odette finds the body, she is traumatized, ends up seeking counsel from Ruby and can’t rest until she finds out what happened. Odette follows her suspicions and even goes undercover at the Conclave to get to the bottom of it. How could she solve a murder where the murderer could slip in an out of time?

Told from various viewpoints and throughout various time periods, this book tracks multiple characters jumping back and forth in time, some even meeting their future selves in the same room. It takes a while to catch onto which "version" of the character is present.

A unique and interesting entry in the time travel genre. Mascarenhas has created a very character driven novel with multifaceted characters who you grow to care about.

Definitely, an emotional roller coaster filled with mystery and fantasy. I look forward to reading more from this author. Highly recommend!
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Debut novelist Kate Mascarenhas has crafted a thoughtful, intricate, time-traveling murder mystery in The Psychology of Time Travel. In this alternate history, four female scientists create the world’s first time travel machine in 1967 that results in a powerful corporation of time travelers who travel back and forth from that time period on through the future. I appreciated how the author thoughtfully portrayed the psychological and sociological implications that would happen as some people can transcend time while the rest of “plodders” can only progress one way through time. How do your thoughts about death change when can you know your own death date ahead of time and can also do one last visit of all your loved ones? Does death lose its significance? How does the nature of love change? How do you investigate crime without changing the future? The novel delves into all of this and more. One of the strengths of the novel is how it deftly portrays how power can corrupt. The biggest weakness for me is the subplot about the one who scientist who had a mental breakdown as they announced their discovery. For some reason, it struck a discordant note with me. Overall, it is a stimulating read. 
Thanks to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books, and the author Katie Mascarenhas for an advanced electronic review copy.
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This is a story about time travel. It’s also the story of a mysterious murder and who committed it. Since this was Mascarenhas’s debut novel, it’s obviously my first time experiencing her writing. The premise seemed promising: 4 women scientists (hallelujah!!) discover time travel, and after shunning one of their own who has a breakdown on TV during the reveal, they form the Conclave, a corporation responsible for the management of time travel and time travellers. It’s not often that women are credited with world-altering inventions (in fiction, yes, but definitely in real life, too), so I figured I would give this book a try. The cover was nice and whimsical, the synopsis intrigued me, and I rarely, if ever, read books about time travel, so I was overdue.

And let me tell you: I was NOT disappointed!

This book was told in such a refreshing manner. While I was reading it, all I could think was: “This is SO SOOTHING.” Mascarenhas’s writing is the equivalent of sitting down in a comfy armchair with a blanket and a cup of tea, next to a roaring fireplace, while rain or snow falls outside. The author is British, which clearly comes through in the writing (not to mention the characters live in and around London), and the dialogue and descriptions flow smoothly. There’s no awkward sentences or stilted conversations. Everything is cozy and warm. Even though the major plot is that of a murder, and some portions of the book may be loosely “thriller-esque,” I never felt anxious or afraid for what happened next. Something about Mascarenhas’s writing makes the entire atmosphere of this book delightful. I finished this book in only 3-4 days because of that feeling.

[Full review on my blog!]
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An interesting book about the beginning of time travel and the consequences. While it can be a little hard to follow jumping from time period to time period i did enjoy reading it
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Rating:  3 bumpy time-traveling stars

In Kate Mascarenhas’ debut novel she has presented a unique view of what time travel might look like.  One of the editors at the publishing company, Crooked Lane Books, suggested (in the preface of the ARC copy that I read) that this book was a layered, sophisticated debut novel.   I don’t disagree with that assessment, but for me I think that the book was too layered, too frenetic and a bit too disjointed to be relished as fully as the editor had hoped.

In the opening chapters we meet the four founding women scientists who perfect the ability to time-travel in the 1967.  Barbara, one of the team members appears to be unable to cope with the pressure and is banned from the team after their process is developed.  Skip forward 50 years, and we are reintroduced to ‘Granny Bee’ and her granddaughter Ruby Rebello.  Ruby vaguely knows what her grandmother was involved in years ago.  When Bee receives a note about the future from someone in her past Ruby is spurred on to try to solve the underlying mystery described in the note which may indicate that Granny Bee is in danger.

From there we go on a bit of a mind-bending, and sometimes confusing ride.   There are a lot of characters who we meet in many phases of their lives.  Through the wonders of time travel, the select few people allowed to be time travelers by the dystopian organization, ‘The Conclave’ (which was created after time travel became possible), bounce back and forth in time.  They are able to meet their ‘Silver’ (older) and ‘Green’ (younger) selves.   Adding a murder mystery, a love story, and many scenes involving people in earlier or later times, and then encountering them again in the present, meant that as a reader I had to work pretty hard to keep everything straight.

For me, the writing was good, but the book tried to pack too many stories and a few gimmicks into the plot.  There was too many scenes spent bouncing around between time frames that didn’t really add to the story.  It didn’t make sense that a ‘green’ self would want to attend a funeral of a friend who dies in the future.  How do you meet someone and fall in love, only to go visit them on their deathbed as a ‘silver’ self, long after you had actually died?    These were probably meant to be thought provoking scenes, it IS Speculative Fiction.  However, I didn’t really think that scenes like this moved the plot along, but were inserted to solely to be speculative.  Maybe I’m not an imaginative enough reader.  I felt a bit like I was bouncing around in a pinball machine.    I think the book would have been more successful if it had fewer things that it was trying so hard to convey.

‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, Crooked Lane Books; and the author, Kate Mascarenhas; for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I LOVED the premise of this book - a story about 4 women scientists who’ve developed the ability to travel through time (woohoo, go girl science power)! The problem with this one was how quick the story went. I wanted more detail about how their scientific discovery went in the beginning of the book. The first few chapters were so crucial, I just felt like they flew by! The story takes a quick turn to focus on a murder mystery, almost leaving the revel of discovery behind in the dust. A very unique story, but I just wanted more.  I'm not sure if I liked having to switch to the mindset of being between a sci-fi novel, contemporary fiction novel, and a mystery.

Thank you crooked lane books for my copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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'The Psychology of Time Travel' is a weird and brilliant gem of a book, glowing under strange lights, unsettling and hard to look away from. Four women invent a machine that makes travelling through time possible; decades later, time is more of a network than a line, older and younger versions of the same person converge on moments in their shared timelines, and, in the basement of a toy museum, a woman has been murdered in a locked room.

With a cast of characters that spans the original quartet of women, their children and grandchildren, other prominent members of the organisation created to enable and regulate travel through time, and the bystanders drawn into the orbit of time travel, it is a testament to Mascarenhas' dexterity and care that this book carries itself so lightly - it would be easy, I think, to get lost in populating such a world, and even easier to get tired, resort to shorthand, substitute stylisation or parody for dimension. Easy likewise to drown in the unfamiliar language, the theoretical science, the jarring movements in time and space, the knotted relationships between characters whose interactions are not entirely linear, and lose sight of plot. Though these elements are clever in their conception and impressive in their execution, they are the spine, and not the heart of Mascarenhas' story, and this is, I think, why she loses neither substance of character nor shape of plot.

I say the heart of 'The Psychology of Time Travel' but it is maybe more accurately somewhere between the heart and the mind; at its centre, this book is a feeling out of what it would mean, emotionally, intellectually, socially, to let go of beginning life at one point and dying at another and travelling a straight line between the two. It presses at the already present bruises of mental illness, trauma, grief, sexuality, and wonders how time travel might manifest or transform those states of being and thinking. It asks about death, and how a person's relationship to it would change if only one's own death was truly the end. And through Mascarenhas' characters, the choices they face and the ones they make, the relationships they form and those they reject, we have a series of hypothetical answers, a construction of an alternate psychological, as well as physical, reality.

I'm running out of words; all I have left is that I'm deeply impressed and surprised and excited by this book. I've never read anything quite like it.
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I received an ARC from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley in exchange of honest review.

Considering the number of positive reviews that it got, then it's definitely me. I was surprised to see the writing style used in this book, especially in this particular genre. I have to double check to see if it's targeted towards middle-grader. I'm not a writer myself and English is not my first language, but right from its very first page, I was completely aware the narration and writing style will not work for me. It feels like someone sits me down and makes me listen to the story rather than experience it. 

The first few chapters were very rush and full of massive information dumpings. How can I explain this? Basically, here's what the author did from my perspective: "This is A and she's smart. This is B and she's brave. This is C and she's loyal. This is D and she's quirky. And here's the time travel machine that they're working on. They did it. They're happy. The end." Do you see my point? I don't even have an opportunity to connect with these characters, because basically, what I knew about these characters came from the fact and information that served by the author herself, not from the journey and process of reading this story. This really threw me off. I couldn't careless about these characters, let alone their stories. And it really sets a certain mood, even when I tried to keep going. 

Also, the concept of time travel was not explained very well. This book tried to take a different approach for this topic where paradox does not exist and we can interact with our older/younger self without causing timeline disruption. I appreciate the originality that the author tried to achieve, but again, it's very poorly executed and caused a lot of confusion.
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The title of this book tells you exactly what this book is about, the psychology of time travel. What does time travel do to a persons mind and personality? How would it affect a person’s perceptions and relationships? How would society be affected by time travel becoming as normal an occurrence as flight or space travel?

The book jumps back and forth in time … as it should considering the subject matter, right? A woman has died in 2018. Who is she? That is the first part of the mystery of this story. She was one of four brilliant young women who invented the technology that makes time travel possible. They were also the backbone of what becomes a global organization that controls the use of that technology.

This corporation exists outside of time, and away from any interference or regulation by any government. It has over time been molded into something cult-ish, controlling and corrupt. Employees are affected by this corporate culture to the extent that death becomes meaningless in their lives. Think about that for a moment, imagine if you can simply go back and forth in time to visit the people you love and have lost. Sounds wonderful, but the author has dealt with the isolation and solitary feelings that would happen when you become detached from a phenomenon that is at the core of the human experience, death.

I found the book fascinating. It doesn’t get too deep, just enough to spur your imagination. I started out giving this book 3 stars, but I think I’m bumping it up to 4. I felt at first it was a little too predictable and that I had already figured out the mystery early on. But around 75% into the book I realized that the mystery was much more complex than I’d first imagined. What’s more, the mystery wasn’t the focus anyway.

I enjoyed this book. I hope you do to. It’s worth a read.

Song for this book: It’s Only Time – The Magnetic Fields
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Time travel is a popular subject for books and movies, but it is often difficult to have a believable way for it to happen.  In this book, there are four scientific ladies who make it happen.  The focus is mostly on what happens physically and mentally to the time travelers.  It's a complicated story full of a variety of strong women.
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Four women inventing time travel in the 1960s. A DREAM! I love powerful women and this did not disappoint. 

Told in multiple voices, and in different time periods, this amazing story is unlike anything I've read before. Part historical fiction, part sci-fi, this story explores mental illness and technology. It's a rather confusing novel at points, but in the end, everything is exactly how it should be - altering the world, one reader at a time.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas is a science fiction fantasy that is a bit like the story of Hidden Figures. In this book instead of the ladies that worked on the space program we have a fantasy read with four ladies that worked to create time travel.

The story begins in 1967 with the four ladies working to invent time travel, each with their own specialty. After successful animal trials things move forward for them to begin working with human travel. Unfortunately, one of the woman in the program suffers side effects from the program and is pushed out of the program.

In the present time we meet Ruby who is the granddaughter of that original member who left the program. When her grandmother, Barbara (Granny Bee), receives a note from fifty years in the future it seems there will be a murder of an unknown woman with time travel being at it´s peak in that time.

I will admit first that The Psychology of Time Travel isn´t the easiest of books to follow along with as it bounces from time to time and character to character. However, I do think this one is worth the extra time to read having new and interesting ideas with time travel. Instead of being a book that focuses on what era is being visited this one focuses on these characters and the effects of travel and still kept the pages turning and my interest to see what would happen especially with a bit of mystery, certainly a nice read overall.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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The Past, Present and Future collide in Kate Mascarenhas' brilliant debut book, The Psychology of Time Travel. 

I love and adore the concept of time travel. Thinking about the books and movies that I grew up with, some of my favorites included The Time Machine, Star Trek, Back to the Future and, of course, the cult classic, Somewhere in Time. Today we have books like Outlander that take us back and forth in time and our concept of time and relativity has grown more fluid over the past few decades. So, naturally, when I saw this book, I just had to grab it up and read it. And I loved it! 

The Psychology of Time Travel begins with the story of the pioneers of human time travel who, quite wonderfully, are four female scientists. In fact, the entire book is magnificently woman powered and it is one of the aspects of the book that I found so marvelous! As we transition into the second phase of the book, the present, we find that one of the pioneers is now an old woman who is with her granddaughter. They receive a mysterious post regarding a death that will happen in the future - which, of course, leads us to the future section of the book where the murder will take place. From there the book has a fluid timeline as the characters attempt to solve the crime - or stop it from happening - either in the present or future or, for some, in the past. Confused yet? Yes, there are times that the back and forth in time does get a bit mind boggling, but the story itself is one of mystery and crime and that is what makes the book so fascinating. It's a detective story set in time - or space - or in the time warp continuum. Hmmm. It's like Dr. Who meets Hidden Figures. 
When you’re a time traveler, the people you love die, and you carry on seeing them, so their death stops making a difference to you. The only death that will ever change things is your own.

This is, by far, my favorite passage in the entire book and, I think, it is one of the reasons that I find time travel so intriguing. Since the beginning of time, mankind has been curious about what happens after death but what if this is what happens? We are simply transported to a different time, a different place. Perhaps time, and life, and our souls are merely traveling from place to another. It's not too unreasonable to imagine - if you dare. ;) 

I suspect there are those who will say that they don't read books like this and that's okay. This definitely was a book for me and I enjoyed it a LOT! I hope some of the skeptics out there will at least give it a look, I think you will like it if you do. 

Thank you to the author, #Netgalley and #CrookedLaneBooks for my copy of #ThePsychologyofTimeTravel.
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The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas is recommended debut murder mystery with a plot device that involves time travel and some of its consequences.

The first time machine is built in 1967 by a group of four women scientists: Margaret, Lucille, Grace, and Barbara. When they are ready to reveal of their fantastic invention, one of the group, Barbara, suffers a breakdown and is forced to leave the group. She is subsequently ostracized after Margaret convincingly orders Lucille and Grace to never have contact with Barbara ever again. Margaret, the leader of the group, becomes the head of the Conclave, the organization that oversees all time travel, and she rules it with arduous control.

Fifty years, in 2018, later a young woman, Odette, opens the museum where she just started working and finds the murdered body of a woman in a locked room in the basement. The event traumatizes Odette and also compels her to find out who the person was since she had no id on her, and why/how her murder happened. She meets with a therapist, Ruby Rebelloto, help her with the trauma. Ruby is the granddaughter of Barbara, Granny Bee to her, the ostracized time travel pioneer. Their meeting seems connected and predestined because Ruby's Granny Bee had received a newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman (in 2017), and Ruby is obsessed with finding out if it was Granny Bee.

The narrative is told from alternating perspectives and decades in short chapters. The short chapters mean that the point-of-view and time period changes frequently. There are a number of characters, and some of these characters are time travelers, so they appear from different time periods in different plot threads. It does concern itself with the psychology of time travel, but the essential core that holds the novel together is a murder mystery. It is easier and more compelling to follow the novel if you focus on the murder mystery and set the time travelers and their jargon aside as an interesting plot device. 

All of the characters would have benefited from better development and an increase in insight into their own personal psychology. Margaret is the antagonist. She is egotistical, cruel, and arrogant. She runs the Conclave with a model that stigmatizes anyone with any kind of mental illness and engages in cruel hazing techniques to desensitize and test the devotion of new recruits to the Conclave. Her choices in how the Conclave is run are having a negative impact on people and the institution.

While there are interesting tidbits of insight into the effects time travel has on those who are members of the Conclave, there is also the increasing sense that all the time travelers are observers and information collectors with little concern over how they impact the past or future. They often visit themselves in the past or future, which is interesting but the effects of which are never explored beyond the surface details. The marriage of two people from two different time periods will surely bring several questions to mind for the reader.
I actually finished The Psychology of Time Travel over a week ago and the characters and their situations fell quickly from my mind. For fans of sci-fi, this isn't really a great choice for a time travel novel. For interested readers, at end of my review copy, there was a questionnaire/test you could take to determine if you would be suitable to apply to the Conclave. (I wasn't interested in it enough to take it, which is telling.)

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Crooked Lane Books.
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I admire this author and this book. Writing about time travel is harder than writing about most other topics. You have to keep timelines in mind, remember the rules for time travel, and know whether the character is in the present, past, or future. It's a daunting task. That said, I wished throughout this book that the author hadn't tried quite so hard. There were too many characters to keep up with and too many time jumps. I admired the murder mystery part of the novel. In fact, that was the best part. I hadn't ever read a time-travel murder mystery before and I loved the clues and final reveal. Unfortunately, by that time I had mostly given up trying to keep the characters straight. If there hadn't been so many characters, I probably would have cared about them more. Still, if you're really into time travel stories, you'll probably like this one. It was different and really creative.
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Rating: 3.5 Stars

This book thoroughly boggled my brain.  The concept of time travel makes absolutely zero sense to me.  This book is technically a murder mystery, but oddly it didn’t feel to me like a murder mystery at all.  The mystery itself became more of a subplot as I struggled to wrap my head around the various concepts detailed in the book pertaining to time chronology, “genies”, and other time travel concepts.   I liked the book, but I was honestly too confused by it to love it.
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It is very surprising that this is a debut novel. You don't except such exquisite writing in a debut, especially one tackling an in depth, impossible task: time travel. What I loved most about this book is the conversations I was having with myself and close friends based around the book. What would time travel be like? What would happen to the mental state of the person traveling? Would you change things now if you somehow caught a glimpse of the future? My favorite part of books is the discussion of topics mentioned in the book. If you're like me, this will excite you.

In a time of women's rights being broadcasted and fought for so thoroughly and publicly, this is a well timed novel with an all female cast--an all female SCIENTIST cast. Talk about breaking that glass ceiling! Each character has distinct personality written in their pages, and I felt like I knew them all so well by the end of the book.

This is a murder mystery wrapped into a science fiction thriller. If you've ever wished, or believed, for the power of time travel, this is the book for you.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane for an advance copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
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