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19th April 2014 – Book Review: If I Could Turn Back Time by Nicola Doherty

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Time travel romances have been popular amongst readers of the romantic fiction for ages and in this engrossing novel by Nicola Doherty, chick lit meets time travel and how!!

I have just finished reading this novel and absolutely loved it! The best thing about this novel for me was that none of the various interesting characters in this novel were one-dimensional, they were all portrayed as normal humans with normal failings especially, the irrepressible, charming, slightly over-ambitious heroine of the novel Zoë Kennedy.

The novel is about how Zoë meets, gets together with and then loses surgeon boyfriend the too perfect, suave and handsome David Fitzgerald. The reason for the split is attributed to Zoë’s needy behaviour and her refusal to accept the third wheel in their relationship, i.e. David’s childhood female best friend Jenny, who is a constant irritant to her. Added to this, Zoë, who was formerly a management consultant and now is working as a Sales Assistant at a high end department store, desperately wants to get into fashion buying. However, fails to get a buyer’s assistant job that she applied for at the store. Zoë wishes that she could somehow turn back time and this time around be the perfect girlfriend to David, so that he would not leave her and also ace the job interview that she messed up. Then, due to a strange quirk of fate, her wish is granted and one day she wakes up and realises that she has woken up six months earlier……

Due to her knowledge of the future, this time Zoë navigates her life very carefully and is the ideal girlfriend to David, gaining his trust and respect for her, due to her acceptance of his hectic schedule as a surgeon and her tolerance (this time) of the constantly present Jenny. Added to this, she also manages to ingratiate herself with the management at the department store where she works, accurately forecasting fashion trends (which she knows of from the future) and impressing them with her knowledge of the stores best and worst sellers, which eventually lands her a prestigious position at the store as ‘Head of Trends’. However, with the entry of David’s friend, neuroscientist Max who becomes Zoë’s new flatmate complications arise as Zoë begins to realise that what she thought was perfect for her might not be what she really wants or needs. Things begin to unravel as Zoë’s lies catch up with her and she re-thinks her life and her choices.

This novel explores the classic question….if you had the chance to turn back time, would you do things differently? And if so, would the outcome be any different in the end?

You can relate to Zoë at every turn. Her infatuation with the sophisticated, well-educated David and her desire to attain him and his love, her irritation with Jenny, David’s childhood friend whose possessiveness of David is abnormal, her desire to do well in a career of her own choosing and her ambition for a better life.  When Zoë makes her fashion ‘predictions’ you know where it is heading and cannot help have a feeling of dread that it is not going to end well. Zoë is a good friend and has her heart in the right place but as a reader you can see that after her time travel experience, she will become a better person. David is a grey character in the novel, unlike other chick lit novels where one of the men in the heroine’s life is so awful that you cannot help but want her to dump him and fast!! He is not a truly bad boyfriend but his biggest flaw is his inability to see how his friend Jenny is trying to wreck his relation ship with Zoë. The friendship and the camaraderie between Max and Zoë is well-described and this novel has many magic moments, one is atop the Empire State Building, but no spoilers here, go and read the novel to experience these, its worth it!

All in all, this novel was hugely entertaining and enjoyable, both for fans of time travel or otherwise.I loved the author’s description of the world of retail and buying. Given that I am a Merchandising Assistant myself, her depiction of high street fashion buying and retail administration is pretty good so kudos to her! Also, her description of David’s career as a surgeon and Max’s job as a neuroscientist shows that the author has done her research well.

You can now buy this novel in paperback and digital formats on http://www.amazon.co.uk/If-Could-Turn-Back-Time/dp/0755386884/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1397926079&sr=8-2-fkmr0

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