Dara is visiting London with her older brother. She’s a computer programmer from Chicago, and she’s still grieving her fiancée’s death from a year ago. Both she and her brother enjoy period architecture, and they set out on a tour of an Edwardian house. Dara splits off from the group to do a little exploration of her own. When she opens the door to what appears to be the basement, there’s a crack of lightening, and she falls into the London of 1908.
Disoriented and in shock, Dara is convinced she’s dreaming. A beautiful young woman finds her in that same basement and brings Dara to her modest flat to recover. Agnes is immediately taken with Dara. While Dara sleeps, Agnes’s curiosity gets the better of her. She looks through Dara’s bag and discovers her passport confirming Dara’s from the 21st century.
Dara comes to accept that she’s indeed traveled back in time. One morning a distinguished man is waiting for her outside the house she’s now living in with Agnes. Dr. Thomas Edward Grey, a scientist, introduces himself and explains to Dara he has a machine that detects time slips, and it informed him of her arrival. A time slip is a tear that opens in one dimension and allows a person to drop into another time on earth. Time not being linear means that a person can travel into the past or future. He’s working on a time slip detector and thinks he might be able to use it to send Dara back to her own time.
While Dara waits for Dr. Grey to perfect his machine, she begins to make a life for herself with Agnes’s help. She gets a job in a local tavern and begins to contribute toward rent and expenses. Agnes quickly develops feelings for Dara and is fascinated with everything about her. Her only fear is the accidental time traveler will reject her when she finds out about her unnatural desires.
Dara realizes she’s falling in love with her sweet roommate. When Agnes kisses her, she sees the grief over her fiancée’s death has receded and she’s ready to move on. Dara is torn. She desperately wants to return to her old life in Chicago but that means leaving Agnes in the past.
When Dara accidentally slips back into the 21st century, to what lengths will she and Agnes go so they can stay together?
Dara and Agnes complement each other perfectly. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are opposites. They are like puzzle pieces. They are stronger together than they are as individuals.
Dara’s one brave woman. She quickly gets over her despair when she accepts she’s been transported back to 1908. Rather than sulk or become paralyzed by the shock, she moves into action. She’s willing to earn her keep by doing laundry and working in a questionable pub. She doesn’t want to live off Agnes’s kindness. She misses her family, and she misses indoor plumbing, but she makes the best of it. I enjoyed watching her fall in love. Agnes is the balm that helps Dara’s heart heal. Dara is able to talk about her life with her fiancée, and Agnes listens without judgement. I loved seeing the depth of her love for Agnes.
Agnes is beyond sweet and very brave in her own right. She has a genuine innocence about her paired with natural curiosity. Rather than being trepidatious about this woman from the future, she embraces Dara’s uniqueness and wants to learn everything she can from her. She hangs of Dara’s every word. The fact Dara is a Black woman doesn’t really matter to her. Agnes thinks her beauty is twofold, beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside. Agnes has a very sad backstory. Abused by her father for loving a woman, she’s on her own in London making a life for herself. She’s doing well aside from the infrequent visits from her drunken brother. I enjoyed watching Agnes stand up to him when he called Dara incredibly racist names. Over the course of the book, Agnes goes from being timid to a bold, a woman who will go to any length in the name of love.
The Writing Style
I thought the plot of The Time Slip Girl was a fantastic mix of romance, science fiction, and historical fiction. Andre mastered creating the London of 1908 with great details about things like the architecture, clothing, and even the food. She also used dialogue to highlight how different Dara and Agnes are. It wasn’t just the vocabulary or vernacular terms that did it. She captured the subtle differences in syntax that’s changed in the English language over the last one hundred years.
Andre shines a light on racism by showing how Dara is treated in the London of 1908. She is stared at everywhere she goes as if she’s on display. She faces overt racism from Agnes’s brother and subtle microaggressions that are noticeable because she’s the only Black woman on the streets of London. While the attention she gets is unwarranted, she shrugs it off because contextually the people around her may never have seen anyone like her. There’s a very poignant scene where Agnes takes Dara to the theater to see a show. One act is a minstrel group and Dara’s emotionally and physically repulsed by it. When she explains to Agnes why minstrel shows are offensive, it’s a valuable lesson for readers who may never have explored this bit of cultural history.
As far as science fiction goes, Time Slip Girl is sci-fi lite. There’s not much technical content about the ins and outs of time travel or the machinery used in predicting and locating the time slips. Science fiction isn’t the genre I naturally gravitate toward, so this wasn’t a problem for me.
The Time Slip Girl is a delightful, light read. The time travel aspect lends the romance an urgency that keeps the plot moving along at a good pace. Agnes is so lovely in all her wide-eyed innocence. It’s easy to see why Dara falls for her. Spending time in 1908 was a treat, and watching Agnes filled with awe over a cell phone was delightful. I was surprised by the suspense factor Andre created in the last quarter of the book. I hadn’t expected it, and it was just the perfect twist to make this book satisfying.
Excerpt from The Time Slip Girl by Elizabeth Andre
“When? When is this?” Dara asked, gesturing at the room.
“It’s June 18th, miss,” Agnes said. “You really didn’t know?”
Dara closed her eyes. “The year. What year, please?”
“It’s 1908, miss,” Agnes said.
Dara opened her eyes, opened her messenger bag, and pulled out her cell phone. She pushed the button to activate the main screen. It didn’t have a signal or the time and date. The battery was at 80 percent. She looked over at Agnes, whose eyes had gone wide. Agnes leaned over in her chair, trying to get a better look at the phone. Dara tapped a few buttons to pull up the photos she had stored on her phone. Yes, they were still there. The photos of Nick, their parents, and their friends were still there. The many pictures of Jenny, with and without Dara, were there. With Agnes still gazing at her and the phone intently, Dara went to her phone’s contacts and dialed Nick’s number. Nothing.
“That still doesn’t mean I’m not dreaming,” she muttered.
“Perhaps I should make us both some tea, miss.”Dara nodded yes, although she figured she could do with something a good deal stronger than tea. Agnes bustled out of the room.
“Oh my God,” Dara said when she was alone. Her eyes darted around the room, taking it all in, the flower-patterned curtains on the one window, the shabby wardrobe standing in the corner, the night stand, the wooden chair, a small desk, the plain iron bed frame and the bedclothes that adorned it. One part of her couldn’t believe it was true, but another part could. That part urged her to accept the truth. It will go much easier on you if you do and soon, it said.
She thought of her brother, who was probably frantic with worry wondering where she was. What would he tell their parents if he didn’t find her before they were supposed to fly out of Heathrow next week? Then there were her friends and the co-workers she actually liked. Most of all, though, there was Jenny. Jenny had been dead for over a year, so it wasn’t the fact that she wouldn’t see Jenny again that upset her. She had accepted that. No, it was the fact that she might never see the places she associated with Jenny ever again. She may never see all the little gifts Jenny had given her during their time together. In a panic, she clutched at the thin gold chain she wore around her neck. She kept her engagement ring on that chain. At least she had that. She kissed it tenderly and wept.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781511796781
- Publisher: Tulabella Ruby Press
- Elizabeth Andre Online
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