Romance readers everywhere will gush over the characters and passion in debut novelist Susan B. James' "Time and Forever." Science fiction fans won't be disappointed either, as the characters experience time travel throughout much of the novel, mostly in the year 1969. "Time and Forever" is a fast-paced, interesting novel that explores true love, soul mates and destiny.
Sherry and Lorena are sixty-something heroines who live in Los Angeles and are both unmarried. Sherry, a high-end boutique owner, is divorced, lonely and thinking about Internet dating. Lorena, a famous actress, doesn't think this is such a great idea and suggests a different kind of adventure, a virtual reality game, where they can experience any time in the past they wish.
Sherry chooses 1969 London, where she had one incredible kiss with a stranger. She has never forgotten him after marriage to someone else, two kids and divorce.
Soon after starting the virtual reality game in London, Sherry bumps into Jeremy again and sparks fly. Both Lorena and Sherry are amazed at how young they look and feel and how real everything seems to be. They quickly catch on that this is not just virtual reality. The friends have actually traveled through time, and Sherry is getting a second chance to get to know the mysterious stranger.
But with time travel, there's always the risk of the past changing something in the present. Sherry is torn between feeling love she hasn't in years, and the knowledge that if she changes the past too much, she won't have her beautiful children.
Meanwhile, Lorena is wondering what's going on in the present, while they are busy shopping and enjoying 1969 London. She soon longs to go back to her career, where she has an important meeting with "People" magazine. However, once she returns to L. A., she realizes that maybe she could go on her own time travel adventure and see her beloved husband alive and well one last time.
This is when the novel turns very endearing and becomes a real page-turner. Sherry's scenes are fun and James makes readers feel like they are doing their own form of time traveling through the novel. But during Lorena's chapters, readers can feel the emotion and longing pouring out of the pages. Don't be surprised if you'll need to reach for a box of tissues during these scenes.
Once the characters go back and forth between the present and the past, the plot takes fascinating twists and turns and reads a lot like a science fiction novel, which made the ending not as predictable as many stories in the romance genre.
James has a BFA in speech and drama from the University of Georgia and received a MA in theatre at the University of Hawaii. In New York City, she met and married her true love and got to sing in a Broadway musical. After New York, they moved to California where they could pursue TV and film acting. She has two children and two grandchildren and devours books, considering herself a bookaholic.
"Time and Forever" is an intriguing and refreshing romance and would make a great novel for a book club discussion.
Margo L. Dill is celebrating the release of her second novel, "Caught Between Two Curses" a young adult novel exploring love, family and the Curse of the Billy Goat on the Cubs. She is also the author of "Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg," a middle grade historical fiction novel. She lives in St. Louis with her family.