Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Timeless, by Alexandra Monir (Delacorte, 2011)

Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Teens still seem to be devouring paranormal romances, and here's one without any vampires or werewolves but chock full of romantic star-crossed lovers that seems sure to be a hit with teen girls who enjoy books of this genre.  Alexandra Monir, a 25-year old debut novelist who is a professional singer-songwriter, has made use of her songwriting talents as well by weaving original music into the story, which can be purchased as an album (also called Timeless).

Michele Windsor is a happy, popular teenager living with her mother in Los Angeles--except that, since she was a little girl, she has recurring dreams about a mysterious handsome stranger "with eyes the color of sapphires...dressed like none of the other boys she knew." When a tragic accident forces her to move to New York to live with her wealthy, upper-crust society grandparents whom she has never met, she is dazzled at first by their enormous historic mansion, which she has a strange feeling she has seen before.  While the servants are kind, her grandparents are formal and reserved.

She is trying to cope with her mother's death and her new life when she finds a mysterious antique key left by her father to her mother, a key that allows her to travel back in time--to 1910 New York.  Somehow we are not too surprised to find that, while in 1910, she meets at a masquerade ball the handsome stranger of her dreams--Philip, the love of her life.  But as Michele goes back and forth from the present to the past, trying to juggle both her lives, she realizes that although she and Philip belong together, they can never actually be together, since neither can fully exist in the other's time.  Their love seems doomed--can she alter the past and save him before it's too late?

The star-crossed lovers theme of this novel is perennially popular, and the aching romanticism of the story should appeal greatly to teen readers and keep them turning the pages.  Teens will also appreciate the integral role that music as well as romance plays in this novel; our hero, Philip, is a gifted musician, but being a musician as a profession does not fit into his upper-crust family's career plans for him.  Michele, our heroine, writes music as well, and the two are soon collaborating on songs across the century, as she writes lyrics to his music. And you can purchase these songs on-line so the reader doesn't just have to imagine them in her head.

Alexandra Monir spent a year in New York researching and writing this novel, and does a credible job recreating the high society world of the Gilded Age.  Brief portions of the novel also take place in the Roaring Twenties and during World War II.  In an afterword, she cites some of the books used in her research, as well as sights of New York to visit for readers interested in these periods.  She also recommends visiting Newport, where many mansions from this period survive and are open to tours.

Timeless was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month for January 2011, and Monir is already at work on a sequel.

Alexandra's Timeless album cover art
You can find an interview with Alexandra about her book at Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm.

Giveaway:  To win a copy of this book for yourself or your library, please leave a comment with your e-mail and let me know what time period you'd like to travel to if you could travel back in time!  Winner will be selected at random on April 13, 2011.

Disclosure:  Review copy provided by publisher.


debbie said...

I would travel back to 1918, to see what really happened with the spanish flu.

Kaethe said...

I can't think of any time in the past that isn't heartbreaking and deadly, but I imagine I'd fit in okay in Edwardian England. As much as I don't really want to go back to any time, though, I love reading time travel stories.

Maggie said...

I would like to visit Regency England for the fashion (yay for loose-flowing dresses) or the 1920s and be a flapper.

Melanie said...

Colonial India melanieptucker at yahoo dot com

Allison said...

Oh, how I love, love, love time travel romance. I'd go back to the 1910s if I could, purely for the fashion- merry widow hats and hobble skirts, swoon!

genkiallison at gmail dot com

Anki said...

Probably Ancient Egypt if I could go as far back as that! Just love Egyptian culture and mythology, esp.!

joy said...

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