I don’t read a lot of love stories, but once in a while break from the constant brutality of war and history is a good change, I suppose. Modus omnibus in rebus and all that rot. This is a love story with a twist, where the man travels through time to meet his wife as a child, girl, teen, lover and woman. Any sort of temporal paradoxes are simply brushed aside, these two are not going to end up being their own parents or any such befuddled nonsense. Not much stands in the way of Cupid’s arrows here. The girl is understandably alarmed when her future husband first arrives, after all, not many girls would positively receive a naked man advancing towards them uttering “I’m going to be your husband”. Pratchett-isms aside, the book is quite well written and switches between both protagonists equally well.
Henry is a freak, of the genetic variety of course. He can travel temporally within a given range and it is this gift he exploits to meet Clare. Clare is a simple and sweet girl, somewhat aloof who succumbs to Henry’s charm. The story is not maudlin at any point and the authoress explores several facets of what it would be like to travel, including the negative ones concerning childbirth. Luckily for both of them, they find a doctor who believes Henry’s crazy story and tries to help them conceive. This is all related in a chronologically aberrant fashion, since Henry keeps popping in and out of Clare’s time. Humour is sprinkled throughout the book, as is bitterness, loneliness and despair. Imagine knowing when everyone will die because you’ve seen them do so in their futures, but being unable to tell them about it. Life would be one tightly wound spring of tension and bitter anticipation. No wonder Henry hops between the present, past and future like a grammar student fumbling his tenses.