Notting Hill meets The Time Traveler's Wife
How far would you go to save the woman you love? Beyond the known boundaries of established science?
Perhaps – but what if you had never actually met her?
Teenager Richard Stevenson stumbles across the photo of a young actress taken at a Gala dinner in Los Angeles in 2014, and is intrigued by the haunted expression on her face. Subsequent research reveals that she killed herself following an assault a few years before the gala. This triggers an obsession with the girl.
Richard is also frustrated. Studies to expand upon the theories of General Relativity, especially those concerning the flow of time and space, are ignored by all his contemporaries.
Rachel Starr is a wannabe actress. She has been in Hollywood for two years but is not alone. There are hundreds like her, many facing dangers from those who would entice them into the world of pornography, prostitution, or simply into bed.
One day, Rachel meets Paul Lander, an enigmatic character seemingly possessing an intimate knowledge of what the future holds for her - and, indeed, the rest of us - unless he can use his three obsessions to intercede on her behalf.
Three connecting obsessions
Plot: Mavrick integrates concepts relating to quantum physics and General Relativity, and while under close examination readers may find flaws in the author’s logic, these threads inspire a degree of verisimilitude. Mavrick's mystery is engrossing and well-plotted, if ultimately more narrow in focus than the premise first suggests.
Prose: Prose is invitingly clear, if overly formal in tone--most notably in Paul’s mannered way of speaking. Mavrick gradually details the complex circumstances in a manner that doesn’t initially overload the reader; as a result of this pacing, however, the conclusion features heavy expository dialogue.
Originality: Readers may find parallels between this work and other time travel romances, but Mavrick brings a unique sensibility to the story, notably through its focus on the darker aspects of Hollywood, the ever provocative butterfly effect concept, and the story’s ecological angle.
Character Development: Mavrick introduces an unavoidable power differential into the romance between Paul and Rachel: in Rachel's present, Paul is a much older man who possesses the wisdom of a far distant future. His seeking to protect Rachel across temporal dimensions is certainly romantic, but also leaves her with relatively little agency of her own. Nevertheless, readers able to overlook this aspect of their relationship will swoon over the time-spanning romance.
Date Submitted: August 22, 2019
Readers who love tales of grand passion will be drawn to the romantic concept of a man abandoning his life to travel back in time for a woman he’s infatuated with. The tender romance between Rachel and Paul is enhanced by Mavrick’s clear, concise writing and even pacing, continually holding the reader’s interest. The characters are solid, though Mavrick focuses on their actions, leaving their thoughts and feelings more obscure. Paul’s quest to save the environment from destruction, and Rachel’s determination to survive Hollywood with her spirit intact, help to round out both their personalities and the story.
Though the novel is set primarily in California with American characters, Mavrick sprinkles the dialogue with British vernacular such as “I reckon” and “Hollywood mums.” Readers will easily overlook this small flaw as they get to know the warm, affable protagonists and hope for them to finally find happiness. Richard’s impulsiveness and Rachel’s steadiness are perfectly complementary; they are truly a couple for the ages.
Takeaway: Romance fans will quickly become immersed in this tale of time travel, Hollywood fame, environmental activism, and profound love.
Great for fans of Great for fans of Audrey Niffenegger, Diana Gabaldon.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: -
'An ambitious amalgam of science fiction, mystery, and romance’
‘A shrewdly constructed page-turner and a highly entertaining, emotionally compelling read that will likely resonate stronger with romance readers than science fiction fans’