Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara
|Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Flat characters and a rather confusing plot make this the weakest yet from the usually reliable Ali McNamara, although the amount of pop culture and Beatles references expertly worked in means that there's still fun to be had in spotting all of them.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 448||Date: November 2013|
|External links: [http:/http://www.alimcnamara.co.uk/ Author's website]|
Shortlisted for Romantic Novelist Association Romantic Comedy Novel 2014
Career girl Jo-Jo gets hit by a car, but the accident leaves her not in hospital, but transported back to 1963. Another such accident leaves her in the 70s, a third in the 80s, and a fourth in the 90s. With a different life each time, and fashion and music being very different from what she's used to, can she find her way home?
Before starting this review properly, I feel it's only fair to state I'm not a big fan of time-travel novels and only picked this up because I'd really enjoyed two of Ali McNamara's previous books. That said, I was disappointed by this one. The time-travel means JoJo keeps interacting with different versions of several characters, and this meant that there wasn't able to be much character development for anyone except Jo-Jo herself. I didn't think her own character arc was strong enough to make up for the lack of any others, especially given just how long the book is. It's also rather confusing, with several different versions of some characters bouncing around, and one obvious question being why does Jo-Jo keep walking into the same road to get run over?
McNamara does capture the time period Jo-Jo travels back into well - I was particularly impressed by the part set in the 1960s, with Jo-Jo and friends working for EMI, dealing with people like Brian Epstein at the time of the Beatles' rise to fame. One of the good things about travelling back to four different decades and cramming the book full of pop culture is that there'll be things to spot however old you are. As an 80s child and a 90s teen, I did enjoy spotting the many references to my own childhood here. In addition, if you're a Beatles fan, it's entertaining to see just how many of the references to the group you pick up on. I was relatively confident I'd gotten them all, but McNamara's afterword made it clear just how much I'd missed!
So there's bits to enjoy here, and there's always the chance that I'm being rather too harsh on this because my expectations were perhaps too high originally - but I still think it's not a patch on McNamara's other books. If you're a big Beatles fan, though, or if you really want a fix of nostalgia, it's perhaps worth a look.
For a really enjoyable light romance, don't miss A Funny Thing About Love by Rebecca Farnworth. I think fans of this one will be delighted by the first Ali McNamara I read, From Notting Hill with Love... Actually.
You can read more book reviews or buy Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara at Amazon.com.
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