Jessie McLeod isn’t your typical teenager. She is fascinated by everything antique, because when she touches them, she can see scenes of these objects, and the people who owned them. She gets little “glimpses” into the past.
But when a mirror arrives at her Dad’s store, a person, who had been part of the mirror’s history, looks back at her, seeming to see her just as clearly as she does; a gorgeous young man, only a little older than herself. But that’s not all that is weird. She starts dreaming about him, too, and further glimpses into the mirror show changing images. If she wasn’t confused enough, the young man from the mirror, who clearly had not been from this century, appears in her father’s store to be a new employer.
Time is not as linear as she thought it was.
Why I Read The Book
The book was recommended to me by goodreads. And since I had more than enough books on my currently-reading shelf, naturally, I was more than intrigued to start a new one. I don’t know much more of time-travel than Doctor Who can offer, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Plus, being a fan of classics, I expected the boy in the mirror to be a thorough gentleman, and that can never be wrong. The only thing I didn’t like, as always, was the mention of a love-triangle between her, her childhood crush, and the boy in the mirror.
Being able to see part of the story of antique objects just by touching them? That is really, really special and inspired. That is time-travel without having to be able to travel in time.
Suddenly having someone return the glimpse and then appear on your doorstep? A bit creepy, but in a supernatural romance novel more than appreciated.
When your childhood crush suddenly develops and interest in you? Normally a good thing, but not under the circumstances of introducing yet another new character and potential/stronger love interest. However, it is really interesting to see the reasons for the change of heart.
People rely too much on looks alone, ignoring what’s beneath. Physical attributes are nice, but by no means what’s most important. There is so much more, but it is missed or ignored. There’s a deeper connection to be had, for everyone, if they were only patient.
Jessie McLeod is a fantastic leading character. She is a round character, with a good childhood, difficult teenage years, and a good head on her shoulders. Due to her mother’s death some years earlier, and her father’s troubles to cope, she is much more mature than many 16 going 17 year-olds. I felt like she was a little naïve with her “relationships” with Steve and Gabriel, allowing them to lead her a little too much – or she just didn’t have ideas of her own. I wish there had been more about her knowledge of antiques and her passions, like with her love for photography, which was quite detailed.
Gabriel Knight is the last gentleman. He was born in the 1890s, can travel in time, and may not be quite human. Until the latter part of the story, there is not much on his character, most of it is surprising and confusing. But when we finally get to know him, he is nothing short of swoon-worthy. He is out-of-date respectful of women and loves passionately. He may be a little too understanding and a little too quick to follow his father’s advice. He is excellently adapted to the modern times, except for his speech, which contains old-fashioned words and makes him never quite say what he means.
Steve is several years older than Jessie, and she’s had a crush on him almost as long as she’s known him. When she told him years back, he turned her down. And then, suddenly and out-of-nowhere, he is interested in her. While I couldn’t quite believe that development, Steve turned out to be a very good guy, absolutely loyal and devoted, sweet, caring and understanding. I would say he is too good to be true, if it weren’t for his possessiveness, need for attention and pertinacity. (But maybe I only felt that way because I was Team Gabriel from the beginning).
Julie was thoroughly neglected. Jessie keeps saying that they are great friends and when they are together it is nice. However, Julie appeared to be much more invested in the friendship and is forgotten as soon as the boys appear. I would have loved to see much more of her.
Jessie’s Dad is going for the Dad-of-the-Year Award. Even though he is thoroughly out of it when it comes to his late wife and managing his own life and household, he is attentive and loving towards his daughter, and never short of good advice.
Thomas Knight is the one character I cannot say anything about, even though I was so curious about him – and still am. One moment he is distinguished and knowledgeable, the next he is too tightly wound, and then he overreacts and is plain scary. Plus, he speaks too much in riddles.
Realization and Writing Style
Reading the novel was wonderful and relaxed. The tone of the narration is easy to follow, yet not boring, and there is a clear distinction in the speech of the present-day characters and the characters from the past, which I enjoyed a lot.
While the novel begins at a good distance from the beginning of the actual story, I liked that it did not completely concentrate on the story surrounding the “glimpse”. Instead, Jessie tells of her everyday-life, of moments from her past, and memories with her friends, things that are not necessarily important to the main story. I find this a good way to really get to know the main character, and to form him or her believably and understandably in their actions.
On the other side, it almost made me lose interest, because I really wanted to get to the part where Gabriel was introduced in person, and I had to wait a long time until that happened.
I was never quite sure what to think of Steve and Jessie’s relationship. At the time, I think I was convinced by Steve’s reason for breaking her heart all those years ago, and then suddenly going for her. In retrospect, I find it rather superficial, quite in contrast to Gabriel’s opinion of attraction between people – the quote I used above to introduce the characters. I don’t exactly want to say that I knew it all along, but the last chapter makes perfect sense: Steve is much more Julie’s type than Jessie’s. That also means that, either the love-triangle was artificially added drama, or the solution in the last chapter was just too easy.
When it comes to the supernatural part of the story, I must say that I am still completely clueless. I don’t quite understand Jessie’s powers, there is no explanation why she has them, and how that puts her into the community of Travellers and Observers and what not. There were so many hints at the time-travellers and the reasons they have for it, but I never got behind it. What is the greater mission? Because it seems there is one. I mean, there has to be a reason for the abilities, especially since there appears to be a form of government behind it all. Gabriel and Thomas repeatedly say, “they” would have prevented this and that from happening if it wasn’t supposed to happen that way. Well? I also am very curious about the time resetting itself, and in the process rewriting itself. I wish there had been more time towards the end to explain at least some of it, but I do have great hopes for the next book!
The one reset that was actually narrated had me confused. There was all that knowledge from the previous chapter, which I understood was forgotten by Jessie, but at the same time I was confused why she lived the day so differently from the version of the day in the previous timeline. I also didn’t quite understand how Gabriel justified his role and presence at saving her life. While I understand that the narrator didn’t want to repeat certain similarities between the days, I felt that there was detail missing, and was confused by the detail that was omitted at the last reset. So, even when there was an example of a reset, I still didn’t quite understand it the way I felt I should as a reader. I feel that I would get a better hold of these many layers of the novel if I read it again, adding all the information I already have to earlier events, but unfortunately I don’t feel quite compelled enough by the book – maybe before the next one is published. Or maybe it wasn’t layered enough, and a few more resets would have made it all that much clearer.
The resets and rewrites that have been mentioned in the story were over few days, and no major events. The last reset, leading to the final chapter, spread over several years, and I want to state that I find that saving a life is very major, but I was also surprised that there were so few repercussion from an additional character. For Jessie, of course, everything has changed now that her mother is still alive – and may I just say it was obvious from the entire book that her death was untimely! By the final chapter, Jessie is a completely different person, as she now understands her gift, knows how to control the “glimpses” and even knows what else there is, like Travelling. However, the chapter is so short it only has time for the fluff part, and a few question-raising allusions that even though the reader has read an entire book, yet he/she knows nothing by closing it. I’m still hoping that the next book will fill this void.
Now, the last chapter, that puts everything in a completely different perspective, is a completely wonderful rounding up of the book. Personally, I thought it was perfect, because Steve is out of the picture – even if I’m not quite sure what to think of the explanation and am wondering why he asked Jessie out in the first place, which makes me think again that he is super superficial in his affections; because Jessie’s mother is still alive and helped her to understand her gifts – I assume that her father is still in the picture, even though he was not mentioned; because Jessie was allowed to have more of a childhood, even though she still has to be mature about her gift – her responsibilities have shifted; and, of course, because even though she has forgot everything from before the resetting of time, with the help of her mother, she is much more sensitive and understands her intuitions better, which leads her right back into Gabriel’s arms – it’s perfect. Even though it ended far too early, and I wouldn’t have minded even more detail on that last page, I am very happy with the conclusion. That, of course, doesn’t mean that I completely believed it, and didn’t shake my head at times at the ridiculousness. I am, however, a romantic at heart, and therefore it was perfect!
It is unfortunate that the book allowed me to take a reading break of several months, because it was a great idea and I shouldn’t have been able to stay away for so long. If not the idea, it is the final chapter that makes me want to read the next book – which seems to take a long time making. I also really want to know more about the supernatural part.
Idea: 4 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Realization: 3 Stars
Writing Style: 4 Stars
General Rating: 4 Stars
Personal Rating: 3 Stars