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The Reason for Time
Maggie Dunn, Alison Budge and Wolfe Corbyn arrive in Toronto on the same flight from London. Sullen but feisty Alison is running from her troubled past in Scotland, hoping to make a new beginning. Wolfe has been banished for crimes he committed at his father's London bank. Maggie is coming home, to confront her past, reclaim her life and perhaps finally, to stop running. The three team up, and their fresh start begins well. But Maggie's health is failing. She is sick and confused. Could her thirty-year age reversal be unravelling? Is her body unable, finally, to sustain her transformation, a year and a half earlier, from a woman in her mid-sixties to a woman in her mid-thirties? To whom can she turn? Together with her failing health, Maggie is faced with a shadowy pursuer who is determined, this time, not to let her slip through his fingers. When the crisis comes, Alison finds that her friend's fate is more shocking than anything she could have imagined. Will the determination of Maggie's friends be enough to save her?
In this sci-fi flavored mystery, the third and final in Court’s "Maggie Dunn" trilogy, a woman with an inexplicable medical condition serves as a catalyst for a series of lyrical meditations on how people strive to find meaning in their lives. Maggie's mysterious malady has caused her body to reverse its aging process, from her mid-sixties to her mid-thirties, and after spending time on the run from those who might exploit her, she is returning to her native Canada with her Scottish friend Alison. After they meet a young banker, Wolfe, on the plane, the trio gets an apartment together–but Maggie remains in danger from an old enemy, and her friends must come to her aid.

Court touches on the medical reasons for Maggie's condition, but the novel’s focus is on scenes and moods, such as Maggie in the hotel, jet lagged and sick: "then she just disappeared, into the water, into the fog, the lake, the pool, the dreams." Subplots involving Alison's troubled family in Scotland and Maggie's old friends who know her past get a little tangled, and make the story choppy at times, but Court’s entrancing language never fails.

Indeed, Court marvelously creates vivid characters and illuminates the connections between people, specifically the way Alison and Wolfe settle into their new lives. Wolfe, from a banking family but fleeing a minor scandal of his own making, really wants to be an artist, and interrupts his workday to sketch, as he thinks contemptuously about his father, who was only interested in "conversations about money, algorithms about money, and rules and regulations and laws about money". Court also neatly portrays the sweetly naïve Alison, who fails to understand Maggie's warning that she and Wolfe shouldn't "visit" each other's room. Maggie and her endearing friends go through a lot together, and readers will face a bittersweet conclusion, knowing that it's the end of their visit with such appealing characters.

Takeaway: Character-driven but unstuck in time, this inventive novel will stick with readers.

Great for fans of: Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler's Wife.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: B