Timeless and Timekeeper, by Alexandra Monir

Here's my problem with time-travel stories: even for great writers, it's tough to come up with a workable plot when you're starting from a fundamentally problematic central concept. I've read a few successful time-travel books, but most of them offered a pleasingly vague “It's magic!” explanation, and they steered clear of any “You are your own grandpa” ridiculousness. So my expectations of first-time author Alexandra Monir's time-traveling romances Timeless and Timekeeper were low from the start, and they got steadily lower as the author starting name-dropping Einstein's theories and reincarnation and Egyptian ankhs.

Following the sudden death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Michele Windsor is shipped off to live with her wealthy, estranged grandparents in New York. After growing up in a bohemian area of California, everything about Michele's new life feels foreign: her exclusive new private school, her grandparents' old-money mansion, and her family's constant air of poorly-suppressed secrets. But when Michele finds an unusual skeleton key necklace among her mother's effects, her life gets even stranger. The necklace allows her to shift back in time to earlier versions of her family's house, where no one can see her except a handful of her female ancestors—and Philip Walker, a sensitive, piano-playing boy from another time.

Sadly, this series has more problems than poorly-explained time travel. Michele and Philip's love affair—which should have been the heart of the story—was clunky, rushed, and overblown. Plus, the books featured some distracting continuity errors, like a minor character who undergoes a name change between the first and second installments. (I wasted a lot of time speculating about whether or not this was a plot point about time-traveling causality, but I eventually realized it was just sloppy editing.) To be fair, some of Monir's writing showed promise. I liked her descriptions of historical New York, and the scenes with Michele's strong-willed, intelligent ancestors were delightful. Monir might have a future as an author of historical fiction, but she'd be well advised to leave the time-traveling stuff alone.

Review based on publisher-provided copies.
Posted by: Julianka


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