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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 April 2014
Nathan Price and Jamie Mackinnon become friends at college. Nathan needs a rock and Jamie needs someone to “tone him down”. This is a perfect friendship for both of them. It is never stated but Nathan has a mind “problem” – bi-polar, schizophrenic – it is never stated but makes you assume something of that nature.

After college, Nathan becomes a professor at a college and Jamie goes missing. One day, Nathan receives a package of documents on the Salem Witch Trials and in that package finds a handwritten letter in Jamie’s handwriting. How is this possible?

The letter mentions Carthage Wisconsin. So Nathan decides to take a sabbatical and investigate what this might mean. In doing so, he meets Alanna. She and many others in the town have a strange power. What starts the attraction between Nathan and Alanna is that she also has mind problems. Each seems to balance the other as well as understanding the issues they both face.

My only problem in reading the book was that I failed to take note of the chapter’s name which I finally figured out was telling me who was the narrator in that chapter. Once I caught on, the reading made total sense.

I had a hard time putting the book down and found myself reading into the wee hours of the morning more than once. If you like the supernatural and historical information about the Salem Witch Trials, this book will definitely satisfy that need.
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on 23 November 2014
Reading this was a bit of an effort. Good points: it's professionally written, without spelling mistakes or typos. But that's the least you could expect from a writer who's a university professor. The theme, how to go back in time and alter history, is an interesting one, even if we've seen this trope done before by everyone from Asimov to Family Guy. The author has a good stab at explaining how time travel might be possible.

But, and it's a big but, if you're going to have a whole book narrated in the first person, then that narrator has got to be someone you want to spend time with. Dr Price tells the story in a really arch and pompous tone which just grates. Occasionally the book is co-narrated by Alanna, but frankly they both sound exactly the same - long-winded and joyless. Between them they turn what could be an interesting read into a dull and irritating experience.

Now I fully expect Chris Zenos's fans to leap to his defence and give this review a large number of 'unhelpful' ratings. But this is my honest opinion: so sorry if you don't like it.
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on 6 December 2014
I don't often start a book and then abandon it after reading about a third but reading this became a real chore so I decided to cut my losses and read something I enjoy.
As others have said, the premise is good (far from new, but interesting) but the narrative is dull in the extreme and the main character is unlikeable. Revelations that should be nigh on unbelievable are passed without a blink - time travel? fine! which cake shall I have? The back story is revealed in a series of confusing conversations that you, as reader, cannot understand until later - okay once, maybe, but it becomes tedious and annoying and you get the feeling the author is as smug as his character - "look at me, aren't I smart?"
Sorry, not for me.
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on 15 December 2014
This is a clever book - the author's theory of time travel has been really worked through, and feels plausible. It's not entirely consistent, but does make you think. The characters and relationships are patchy - the sex is terrible but the friendship is good and the society interesting. Don't look for witchcraft in the Salem scenes - the author goes for the strong but misunderstood women solution. I've given it four stars because the bones of the story are interesting even if the flesh is a bit cliched here and there. Perhaps the author might expand more on Carthage in further stories?
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on 24 November 2014
I was expecting more of a standardised, missing person case, but loved this approach. The characters are engaging and quirky and make you care about them and what happens to them. I admit I got this because it was free and I was bored, but I'm really glad I did. A few laughs, tears and hours later I was sorry to finish it, although it was wrapped up perfectly.
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on 6 December 2014
Read some way into this book and sort of worked out the main character was setting off on a journey. The descriptions of his thought processes were good, sadly I didn't understand what was happening or why. That may be my fault, perhaps I like books to be very literal. This book certainty wasn't.
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on 21 December 2014
This piquant tale is so much more than a simple love story, full of razor sharp social comment and disturbing political insight, not to mention the mental health issues of the main protagonists. Truly a wonderful read. Thank you.
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on 5 December 2014
Not really worth the time involved in reading it. Interesting ideas but characters somewhat unbelievable and boring. Could have read something better in the time it has taken to get through this.
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on 8 December 2014
A great novel whose thoughtful insights into the struggle of living with mental illness is just as gripping as the time-travel storyline.
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on 4 December 2014
A mad and fabulous story. Filled with history, love and fantasy. Characters to engage with. An interesting book and well worth a read.
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