By Kate Mascarenhas
Rating: 5/5 Stairs
Which begins like this:
The laboratory, in Cubria, was home to four young scientists. Margaret was a baroness turned cosmologist. Lucille had come from the Toxteth slums to make radio waves travel faster than light. Grace – who never gave the same account of her history twice – was an expert in the behavior of matter. And the last was Barbara: the baby of the group, hair so fair it was nearly white, ruddy-cheeked and naively wholesome. She specialized in nuclear fission. All four women were combining their knowledge a new, and unique, project.The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
My first book of 2021, and…wow.
Sometimes before I tell you about a book, I like to tell you where I sit before I tell you where I stand. You should probably know I’ve got a thing for time travel. Time travel and vampires. I love books about time travel. Time travel makes me think. Sometimes time travel can give me a headache.
I know time travel isn’t for everyone. I have a feeling that with this particular read, people will love it or hate it. I loved it. I love thinking about the ins and outs and complexity of time travel and just all the possibilities.
In 1967, four female scientists work together to invent a time-traveling machine. The invention is a success, the Conclave is created, and time-traveling becomes a profession. For three of the four women; the fourth (Barbara) has a nervous breakdown and is forced to leave the project. Flash forward 50 years to 2017. Barbara receives a mysterious clipping from the future: in five months, an unidentified woman will be murdered. Is Barbara the victim? The murderer? Barbara’s granddaughter Ruby is determined to find out more.
To tell the story, Ms. Mascarenhas jumps around through time. While the timeline is out of order, the information is presented in a way that makes sense for the reader to learn more about the Conclave, the characters, and the mystery of the dead woman. The story is actually pretty complex, and it can get a little confusing as the time travelers themselves do not live their life on a linear timeline. I really enjoyed little “aha!” moments and small threads that connected throughout the story as I read.
Like I said, I know time travel isn’t for everyone. This book is full of strong female characters and mystery. And time travel. And it was a great pick for me to start the year with.