The physics-bending charm of The Time Traveler's Wife meets the curious mischief of The Eyre Affair in this debut novel.
Annabelle Aster doesn't bow to convention - not even that of space and time - which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more exciting is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds. In this unconventional and enchanting tale, Annie and her new neighbor must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen - and somehow already did.
©2015 Scott Wilbanks (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
No. His story was too much - too wordy, too many plot elements, too much exposition and too long. But in other areas, details were lacking. What was she wearing during so many of the big plot lines (it's important to this particular book). How was the adoption made to happen, considering the circumstances? So on. I literally plodded through the last third of this book for two reasons: One, I DID want to see how it all turned out, and two, I wanted to feel what my students feel when forced to complete a book they're not enjoying.
Most details tied up, and more quickly than they were drawn out (don't know if that was good).
Her narration was anxiety producing. Everything was in an overexcited tone. I even tried slowing down the speed, but it didn't help much. I will NEVER listen to this narrator again.
Pop Culture Duchess
The first thing I have to say about this is that the audiobook narrator (Tavia Gilbert) is fantastic. Her talent for voices, especially across the range of genders and ages, was one of the best I've heard.
OK, on to the book. I have mixed feelings. I like that the characters are quirky, and all a bit damaged in ways subtle enough to be realistic. In fact, I'd say the characters are Scott Wilbanks' strength. Christian's sexuality was handled with a much lighter touch than I've seen before in fiction, which was a standout. He's also an exemplary friend, and somehow all that development meant Annie felt less the lead and more a plot device.
The story itself was a mixed bag. It just didn't seem to know if it was a sweet wandering fiction, a time travel murder mystery, a twisty psychological thriller, or a story about family and accepting yourself. Every time it seemed to find its footing on one genre, it switched to another. And it pulled some cheap tricks to do so. If it had stuck to one, I'd have liked it better. Also, the entire bootstrap paradox aspect (utterly ignored), combined with the lack of time travel to visit other loved ones, was perplexing. And frustrating. Mostly because I expect my authors to assume reader intelligence, and not gloss over the interesting physics and science fiction bits.
The reading of this book horrendous. It is read in a highly theatrical, excessively emotional manner that interferes with the dialogue and makes the content difficult to comprehend. It is a flatly unpleasant and almost uncomfortable listening experience.
Can I give it a 4.8? It's nearly a 5. There are so many lovable characters in this book that I didn't want the story to end. I don't tend to pick books with time-travel in them because they can get campy, but not this. It is a beautiful story of friendship and family and it was fun to read. Caution: weak-stomached readers may need to take some breathers near the end. It's a great fast-paced ending, and will be great for thriller/murder/mystery readers, too.
This book of misfits and time travel grows on you as you get to know the characters and how their lives intertwine. Overall, a pleasant read.
This was my first Audible novel and it took a few chapters to get used to listening rather than reading but soon I was immersed into the author's imagination. The characters so well drawn (and read) that they were very clear in my mind. I wanted more while at the same time wanted to know how it ended. And then I was disappointed the book had actually ended. A very good read.
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