By: Michael K. Hill
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Publisher: Tangent Press
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
A Different Time by Michael K. Hill is a standalone novel that is sure to tug on heartstrings. The novel is set in two time periods – present day and 1989. Each time features a different protagonist. In the present day Keith Nolan finds a home video VHS. On that VHS is a young woman recording a sort of diary – a young woman he finds he can speak to. That young woman is Lindsey Hale. Living with her mother and stepfather, Lindsey is looking for her place in the world, a vocation to follow. In limbo and living with a man she doesn’t like and doesn’t trust, she turns to recording her thoughts on VHS tapes.
As a Jersey girl who loves comics, I immediately liked Keith. It very much felt as if it was set in Jersey, and I truly appreciated it. A kindhearted, nostalgic young man, Keith is dedicated to finally completing his collection Uncanny X-Men when picks up a single VHS ta
The time travel aspects here lean on the magical realism side of the spectrum as opposed to either soft or hard science fiction. For those playing along at home it’s a bit more ‘timey-wimey’ with little in the way of hard explanation. But explanation isn’t needed here. The mystery is part of the charm. An improbable, impossible love story with characters fighting to be with one another across time itself is the books strongest suit.
The love story was a bit insta-lovey. There wasn’t any build-up of trust or friendship first. The characters simply fell for one another and fell hard. However, both were lonely souls and found within one another a kindred spirit and deep understanding that others around them couldn’t fulfill.
Both characters have other obstacles they must overcome. Keith drops absolutely everything in his life to chase after long forgotten VHS tapes, much to the chagrin of his friends. Lindsey must navigate the murky waters of young adulthood while keeping an eye on her mother’s husband, a true scumbag. Her mother doesn’t seem to have the same sentiments, though, which causes tension in the household.
However, at times, I wished for just a little more. A bit more introspection could have been useful. A little more follow through on the consequences of actions might have been useful too. Overall, it felt as if a good twenty pages could have been added.
On the other hand, this novel absolutely excels with its strong points. This is a story of improbable love. It’s a story about destiny, about following your heart and gut even when it seems absolutely impossible to everyone else. It is a beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking story, one whose ending fits absolutely perfectly within the narrative.
A Different Time by Michael K. Hill is a nearly perfect time travel romance that is sure to scratch the itch for fellow fans of the sub-genre.