Title: Between Now and Then
Author: Adam Fitzroy
Publisher: Manifold Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: contemporary fiction with paranormal and romantic elements
Length:46000 words/123 pages
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: Long time ago two lonely souls met each other at the times of war. Read to find out what happened when they met again in the present. After the first quarter of the story I really enjoyed the journey.
It’s 1991, and a group of English football fans are driving across Belgium; their trip takes them through the site of a former battle, and that’s when a strange sequence of events begins. For Dennis and Allan, colleagues who cordially dislike each other, this means journeying further still – into what appears to be the past, and into the lives of two men who travelled this way seventy-five years earlier, whose unfinished love-affair remains to be played out in full. As they move backwards and forwards in time Dennis and Allan have only themselves to rely on, no markers to show them where they’re going, and no real certainty of ever finding their way home again.
“And, whilst that was not a thought which gave his present – day self any comfort whatsoever, the deep-down remnant of the lonely soul who had stood so still for such a long time on the Menin Road was virtually singing an area of rejoicing”
Any book from Manifold Press is a book I will at least consider for review or for purchase because I think that they always produce quality work, but this book from Adam Fitzroy (and one that has protagonists that dislike each other) was a book that I wanted to read and wanted it badly 🙂
I have to admit though – I was a little confused after my first read. First and foremost the book is not a romance in my opinion. It has romantic elements, it has a love story and a beginning of a romance, but I would never call it a full blown romance. However please believe me, I do not care if the book has a lot of romance or very little romance; if it is well written, I will never give a book a lower grade for the absence of romance or romance being a secondary storyline. I just wanted to warn the readers who do care whether they will get a lot of romance in the book or not. The source of my confusion was the first 25% of the story. I kept wondering what was the purpose of such overdrawn and long exposition, because I did not feel that I learned much about the characters and nothing interesting was happening.
When I was rereading the book I felt a little better about the beginning of the story because I saw some gentle, subtle touches which the writer put there to foreshadow some things, but I still think that the actual story should have started sooner than that.
As the blurb tells you Allan and David are part of the group of football fans who travel across Europe to see football match and unexpectedly forced to take a little detour 🙂
They indeed supposedly dislike each other, but I think the word “cordially” from the blurb is very spot on. They are not sworn enemies, they are just two colleagues who for some reason did not take to each other, but they are perfectly capable of communicating without their bickering being too over-the-top.
You can also see clearly from the blurb that a time travel element is involved, so I will not be revealing any spoilers here. Those who say that good writing can sell you anything are so right. As much as I love well done time travel element, I usually prefer it to be explained much better than it was in this book. I like my whys and therefores to be spelled out where time travel is concerned. In this book it just happens because they are in the certain place and time, nothing else was really explained and I completely bought it because of the good writing.
I won’t tell you much about the love affair between David and Allan in the past and how it related to David and Allan in the present, but I thought that it was beautifully written. The longing, the passion which seemingly came out of nowhere, but we can see that it really was there all the time. I really liked it. The reason why I am not calling it a romance though is because while we see that both David and Allan in the present are significantly changed by their experiences and willing to see where it takes them, their relationship in the present just begins when the story ends. I thought it was extremely well done, but I did not think that it could be called a full blown romance.