I've never read any of Louise Pentland's novels but I've come across her name several times on my social media accounts, so when NetGalley sent me a promo email for her new book, about a young woman time travelling back to the year I was born, I decided to give her a go.
I really enjoyed the book. It took a while for me to wrap my head around where the plot was headed, as it started off a little meandering, but I got there quickly enough for it to not detract from the reading experience. I spent most of the story feeling like the plot was fairly predictable, but was pleasantly surprised by the twist in the ending - it lifted a 3 star experience to a 4 star one.
Tabitha was a mostly likeable character to read; she was kind and strong and I was rooting for her to do well, but at times she felt a little overly self-absorbed. In opposition, her friend Vivienne felt like Marmite in a way. At times I really enjoyed her individuality and her boldness, but I also saw sparks of character traits that weren't so palatable - Tabitha even called some of them out herself in the narrative. What I enjoyed about the characterisation throughout the novel was that the focus was very much on the females in the book - Tabitha, Vivienne, Barbara and Bea were front and centre, with everyone else just filling in the gaps around them.
The time travel element was, for the most part, well executed. It didn't feel out of place or over-done, but it was a bit lacking in description at times, with most of the focus being on the fashion and make-up elements of the time. That being said, I would have liked for the author to have spent more time in 1989 with the characters, rather than the fleeting moments that were captured in an otherwise modern story.
My favourite parts of the book were the family dynamics and the exploration of what it means to have a comfortable life. The family that surrounded Tabitha - biological or chosen - felt real and endearing. The drama that followed them around didn't seem to dampen their affection or respect for each other at any moment, and that's a truly lovely thing to read when books tend to go for the melodramatics most of the time. The theme of comfort and safety zones was very prominent in the plot, and I appreciated the exploration of the fact that it's not always a bad thing to live a slow and peaceful life, despite what social media pressures can have us believe.
Worth a read and I'd be willing to try anything else by the author in the future.
*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Sometimes you have to go back, to move forwards.
Tabby is stuck. She still lives in the small town she grew up in . . . the town she's barely ever left.
So, when her dad drops a bombshell over their weekly Sunday dinner, Tabby takes a look at her own life. She lives firmly in her comfort zone and doesn't know how to break out. Sometimes she wishes she could go back and start all over again.
When she meets Bea, a free spirit like no one else she's ever known with an 'interesting' sense of style, Tabby quickly befriends her, recognising in Bea the change she's been craving. But soon it becomes clear that more has changed than her new friend. Somehow Tabby has been transported back to the 1980s.
With the chance to reinvent herself in another time, will Tabby finally manage to move forward?
You can buy the book here from 21 July 2022. It's being published by Bonnier Books.