Book Recommendation – Before Time Runs Out by Amy Matayo

Book Description:

Graduate student Bree Sanders is failing the one class she needs to get her degree. So when her professor gives her an ultimatum—ace her thesis or risk having to repeat her final semester—she knows she has to pull out all the stops. After scrambling for an idea, she decides to create her own Ghost Club, a club that blames ghosts for unsolved crimes, the same type of club originally founded two centuries ago by Charles Dickens. 

What she doesn’t expect is to find an original copy of one of Dickens’ early works, or to be transplanted into Dickens’s actual ghost club meeting, circa 1870, the instant she picks it up.

When Bree shows up in nineteenth-century England wearing cut-offs and an old t-shirt, her only option is to hide. The London of 1870 won’t look kindly on a woman dressed like her. So, when Theodore Keyes finds her tucked behind a bookcase at the King’s College library and immediately demands to know where she came from, she knows he doesn’t belong here either. Turns out she’s right; the same book caused him to time-travel from 1947 almost three months ago and he’s been stuck in England since.

Together, the two vow to work side-by-side in their search for the lost book that will take them home. But as their feelings for one another deepen, Theo and Bree are caught between a desire to return to the lives they each left behind, and the knowledge that if they find the book, they won’t be able to leave together. 

In the end, they each must decide which sacrifice is worth making—the one that will cost them their hearts, or the one that could cost them their very existence. 

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Before Time Runs Out, a delightful time travel romance story with fantasy elements. Bree is a Masters student at Princeton who needs to improve her grades by writing an excellent thesis. She’s a big fan of Charles Dickens, and her thesis topic is based on his literary works. While researching her thesis, she decides to start a ghost club that will meet in the library at Princeton.

Theo has landed in 1870 London, and he’s desperate to return home to 1947 and his life in Beverly Hills, California. He’s a doctor who’s struggling with PTSD from his experiences during WW2. Bree’s arrival in London in 1870 and her first meeting with Theo and Dickens, her literary hero, is hilarious.

The charm of time travel stories lies in the exploration of cultural and historic differences with characters who are lost in a strange new world. Although Bree and Theo are both Americans, they have come from very different worlds. Theo is amazed and puzzled by what he learns from Bree about life in the twenty first century. Bree, being a history student, has the advantage of knowing a little bit about Theo’s life experiences in the mid twentieth century.

Theo and Bree are worried about how their time travelling back to 1870 London will impact on the future. Are they inadvertently messing with history in their search for a way home? Bree wants to know the real ending to the book Dickens was writing when he died, and being stuck in 1870 London provides opportunities to learn the truth.

Bree and Theo are drawn to each other and a sweet romance unfolds, despite the knowledge that their lives are separated by seventy plus years of time. Can they find a way to be together outside of 1870 London? I recommend Before Time Runs Out to readers looking for a fun and sweet time travel romance story with humorous moments and a satisfying ending.

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