Wide Awake Asleep: Time Travel Romance, by Louise Wise

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could go back in time to all the key moments of your youth and correct the errors you made that sent your life and the lives of your friends and family onto a dark path?  it would be nice, and in this story Julie (Jules) does just that.  When she is on the brink of death and in a coma after a car accident, Julie — a successful but lonely businesswoman — is transported back in time and assumes the bodies of different people in her life over six different episodes.  In each episode she must take action to undo a mistake or change the course of her life so that the future will be changed for the better.

The billing for this book is a “time travel romance.”  There is time travel (only within Julie’s own life), but no traditional romance.  If you are expecting some steamy sexual adventures you will be disappointed.  What the author gives us is a lovingly told story about a girl and her mother and her best friend (who betrayed her with her first boyfriend) and how the many small things that happen in life can have profound effects on the future.  The narrative is a bit hard to follow at first, but that quickly resolves itself as we are treated to a deeply detailed walk down memory lane from 1976 to 1983.  The descriptions of the sleepy English village and the people who lived there are rich and colorful.  The writing is clean and pretty well edited (although it contains far too many ellipses).  The story is sweet and at times sad but only in the sense that fixing problems requires the problems to exist first.  The story is about mothers and daughters and about daughters and fathers and about choices and mistakes. Iit is not about action or adventure or peril or sex, but it is about love and fate ad so perhaps that doe qualify it as a “romance.”

I went into the book expecting something very different.  I was a bit disappointed that the time travel angle didn’t reach beyond Julie’s own life, and the author neglects to investigate any negative consequences that might have been collateral damage to Julie’s manipulation of her own history, but if you go in with proper expectations you may well  find this book to be a comfortable and cozy read.  It will not keep you up at night, but it will also not keep you on the edge of your chair.  Brew a pot of tea and get a warm blanket and snuggle up with Julie and her quest to make her present a better place by changing her past.

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