Southern Belles from the 1950s, Civil War Soldiers, and 1920s jazz trios: what do they all have in common? They’re all poltergeist seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole has started to see since her parent’s death a few years ago. All she wants is for these apparitions to disappear so she can lead a normal life. Nothing she’s tried has worked though. She agrees to try one last “cure” when her well-meaning brother hires a consultant from a mysterious organization known as Hourglass.
In enters mysterious, sympathetic and cute Michael Weaver. Michael is an anomaly to Emerson. He believes every word she says, but despite his faith in her and his assurances that he’s there to help her, there’s something she doesn’t trust about him. It doesn’t help that strange things happen whenever they’re in the same room.
Hourglass is a novel of mystery and romance that merges with science fiction and tosses in a good dose of the paranormal. Ultimately though, it won me over because of its fascinating use of time travel. I can’t remember why I requested Hourglass. I couldn’t even remember what it was about when the library said it was waiting for me, so imagine my surprise when about a third of the way through I realized it was a time travel book! A few months back I wrote a post called “Time Travel: Beginnings” where I looked at the beginnings of time travel novels and how they typically were their weakest points. In general I claimed that the time travel needs to start very early on in the story. There are exceptions to every rule though (or in this case, claim). The time travel might not have started until a third of the way through, but it worked. I’m not going to explain how the time travel worked because I’d give away too much of the plot, but it was well plotted and very consistent. The concept behind it was fascinating. The pacing built and built until all hell broke loose (keeping me up well past my bed time). Ultimately the strength of this book really does lie in how well the time travel was used to advance the plot.
All the characters in this book are blessed with good looks. It has bothered some readers, but I didn’t mind it as it wasn’t unbelievable and it didn’t take away from the story…and well I like tall dark and handsome men! So, some “written” eye candy isn’t always bad. Back to Emerson though. She starts out in a vulnerable place when we meet her, always unsure of who’s “real” and who’s not, with no one to talk to about who these apparitions are and what they want from her. As the novel progresses she learns to trust her instincts more. She still has many of the doubts that initially haunted her but she starts to confront them rather than hide from them as she once did. One thing I like best about her is she makes decisions, her own decisions. Good, bad, or catastrophic they’re hers and she learns from them and accepts responsibility for her actions.
This book has received mixed reviews, but I enjoyed it. The combination of strong writing and a clever plot left me unable to put Hourglass down. Give the book a shot, especially if you’re a time travel fanatic like me. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.