*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas #Brainfluffbookreview #ThePsychologyofTimeTravelbookreview

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I’ve been eyeing this one with enthusiasm and was delighted to be able to get hold of it via Netgalley. Apart from anything else – that cover is to die for…

In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history. Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

Firstly, if you are in the habit of diving in and skimming your way through a story – that reading tactic won’t work here. This is a densely written, tightly crafted book with a non-linear timeline that means you need to slow down and pay attention when reading this one. And if you approached this one, thinking that you would be in for the kind of adventurous mayhem offered by Jodi Taylor in her Chronicles of St Mary’s series – again, you’d be wrong. It’s nothing of the sort. So now we’ve got the two fundamental mistakes I committed when first approaching this one out of the way – let’s address what it is.

For once, the title is spot on – this book addresses what regular time travelling does to the travellers. Unlike most time-travelling books, this one doesn’t take us on forays into the past or future, but concentrates on a small handful of people who are profoundly affected by time travelling and follows their story. I was intrigued that some didn’t even time travel themselves – Ginger, for instance – but were connected in some way to people who did. Told in multiple viewpoint, the story weaves around a tightly-knit group for whom the ordinary rules of the universe no longer apply. Led by someone innately arrogant and entitled, Grace’s viewpoint pervades the group and anyone who disagrees with her viewpoint is forced to leave. Apparently driven by a fear that the project will be shut down on the grounds that time travel causes mental illness, Grace institutes rigorous checks, including nasty games designed to foster an indifference towards death in the travellers.

How can an outsider find a way into this group to discover details about a mysterious death? As the story jumps between the characters and different timelines, we gain an insight into the motivations and lives of a handful of women all somehow involved in the particular death, or time travelling. It is an engrossing, clever read packed with telling character details that have had me mulling over this one ever since I put it down. And, exceptionally, I’m tempted to go back and reread it – something I hardly ever do. Partly, because while I thoroughly enjoyed it and am in awe of the writing talent that is Mascarenhas – I didn’t love it. Being a rather simple soul, I need to be able to bond with at least one of the main characters and other than poor Bee – I didn’t.

I’m really sorry about that, because the other outstanding aspect of this book is that the only male characters who appear are incidental. For once, I’m reading a book where every single person who has agency and matters is a woman – I can’t tell you after growing up in the 60s and 70s what an amazing feeling that is. I just wished I cared more about at least one of these brave, powerful females. However, that doesn’t diminish the book’s importance or lessen my appreciation of the writing skill on display and I shall definitely be looking out for more by this immensely talented author. While I obtained an arc of The Psychology of Time Travel from Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
10/10

22 responses »

  1. Ahoy there matey. This one be on me 19 in 2019 list. Glad to see that ye enjoyed this one. And I will stay aware of the difference in expectations that ye pointed out. I don’t know when I will get to this one yet because I don’t own it yet. But I be looking forward to it based on yer lovely review. Arrrr!
    x The Captain

    • Thank you Cap – I’m so glad that you will be going into this one with those altered expectations! It’s worth reading on its own merits, because I haven’t read anything quite like it.

  2. Wow, great review, Sarah! You’ve certainly made me interested in reading this book. I do love books that take some attention and work, and this sounds like it’s worth the time 😁

    • It’s a remarkable book – if you look at the other comments by folks who have already read it, you’ll see I wasn’t the only one who has been deeply affected by it.

  3. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book. I felt the same way about really enjoying the story overall but not connecting to the characters. I think that’s the one thing that would have really taken the book to the next level for me.

    • I probably should have explained more fully that initially I gave this one a 9 as like you, the fact I hadn’t fully connected with the characters was a deficit. But it simply wouldn’t leave me alone… I kept thinking of the themes and how the time travelling and hazing games coarsened sensibilities – so when I finally got the stage of posting it, I had to give it a 10…

    • I completely understand, Jan. Though despite the fact that I only completely bonded with one of the characters, this book really wormed its way into my brain:)

  4. After reading your review shortly after you posted it, I ordered the book from the library, then waited and waited and…Finally it arrived; it sat on my end table while I read other books. I never even cracked it. Then, the due date arrived, and I couldn’t re-check it because there was another person waiting in line. Is it special enough to get in line again?

    • Hm. It wasn’t a book that initially endeared itself to me – but it’s inserted itself in my head and even now, I find myself thinking about it. I do think it’s worth queuing up for it, again, Rae:)

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