Five out of five stars!
Ever fancied a jaunt through 1920s New York? “Out of Time: A Time Travel Mystery” introduces University Professor Simon Cross and his post-graduate assistant Elizabeth West in this captivating time travel romance. This is the first of ten books in the “Out of Time” series by Monique Martin, and her debut novel. Native to Houston, Texas, Martin dwells in Southern California where she works full-time as a freelance writer and author.
“Out of Time” follows Cross and West as a peculiar family heirloom flings them into Manhattan in 1929, where they find themselves stranded until the arrival of an upcoming eclipse. The book straddles a few genres: historical, romance, time-travel and a touch of supernatural, whilst maintaining an air of mystery. In their search for a way home, Simon and Elizabeth find themselves sucked into the sinister realms of gangsters and the supernatural.
Throughout, Martin switches between the points of view of Simon and Elizabeth, effortlessly channelling both standoffish yet loveable Englishman and intelligent if somewhat naïve, go-getting Southern gal. Despite being poles apart, the two have an irresistible chemistry which, teamed with an intriguing central plotline, drives the story forwards at a pace somewhere between a leisurely drive in the mountains and late night speeding on an empty highway.
Set mere months before the beginning of the Great Depression, Martin brings old New York to life through the rose-tinted and sceptical lenses of her characters. Whilst it could be argued that some era-specific details were a few too many, most helped paint a somewhat realistic picture of New York at the time.
My favourite element on this book was the character Elizabeth. While a strong and capable young woman, she is critically aware of her vulnerabilities and keeps a level head even in the most fraught of situations. Even while evading naiveté, Elizabeth still has a tendency to let her fantasies run away with her, and I love her for it.
One of the few minor criticisms of this book: while “Out of Time” presents itself as a well-rounded, enjoyable read, Martin tends towards an overuse of “ly” adverbs which meddles with an otherwise tranquil flow.
Self-published by Martin herself, “Out of Time” is 296 pages of historical and fantastical splendor. Easy to read and difficult to put down, “Out of Time” is highly recommended for fans of science-fiction, magic realism and romance.
Out of Time: A Time Travel Mystery is available on Amazon, for free! (At the time of this review.)