After Eden by Helen Douglas

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After Eden by Helen Douglas

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Time travel romantic novel. When Eden stumbles upon a book from the future it has implications not only for the future of the world but also her best chance of happiness. More a romantic novel with a time travel flavour than a truly sci-fi story.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1408828693

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Ryan Westland is the kind of new boy all the girls want to know. He's American. He's good-looking. He drives a sports car. Eden isn't immune to his charms. Ryan is an exotic creature in her small Cornish town. And she's flattered when he shows an interest in her. But it's soon apparent to Eden that something about Ryan doesn't add up. How does an American teenager not recognise pizza when he sees it? Who hasn't heard of Hitler?

And then Eden stumbles across a book in Ryan's house - it's a biography of her best friend, written many years in the future. Suddenly, a great many things about Ryan fall into place. But will Eden's new knowledge of Ryan's secret jeopardise his mission? A mission that is crucial to the survival of the entire human race?

Ok. After Eden is not a science fiction novel about time travel. It is a romantic novel with a flavour of time travel. There is a big difference and if I'm honest, I'm going to say that I would have preferred less romance and more science fiction. But that isn't the book's problem; it's mine. So I will try to review it setting my prejudices aside. It's a nice romance - a slow burner rather than instant love, which I liked. Ryan is gorgeous to look at - well, of course, he is - and Eden is instantly attracted to him. But she's a cautious, careful girl and she doesn't get carried away. There isn't much heavy breathing or kissing either, but it does feel intensely romantic. Practical to the end, Eden doesn't try to persuade Ryan to stay in her time or beg to be taken to his and I liked her for that.

The saving-the-world plot is less successful. Time travel stories are often riddled with ridiculous paradoxes and After Eden is no different. I won't launch an endless list of eye rolls but I will say there are quite a few, starting with the discovery of a physical book brought from the 21st century which the story hinges on. A physical book? Seriously? And the twist in the plot revolves around a reveal I saw coming right from the get-go. I don't think many readers will be caught unawares. Let's just say that if it's the sci-fi element that appeals to you, After Eden may be disappointing.

I thought the writing was great. The prose is elegant and there are some lovely descriptive passages, particularly of the sky at night. The Cornish setting was fabulous and it was nice to find a book of this kind set in the West Country rather than an American high school. I would give After Eden a recommendation for fans of romantic fiction, but sci-fi readers might want to look elsewhere.

If the idea of romantic stories with a time travel flavour appeal to you, then you might also enjoy Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone. We can also recommend Chasing Stars (After Eden 2) by Helen Douglas and The Here and Now by Ann Brashares.

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Buy After Eden by Helen Douglas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy After Eden by Helen Douglas at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy After Eden by Helen Douglas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy After Eden by Helen Douglas at


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