The image and typography of the cover of Hourglass, by Myra McEntire, (2011, 390 pages) is stunning. Unfortunately, I did not find the story itself to be as striking. More like chick lit time travel. The author does not seem to subscribe to the widely held belief that characters in novels should be somewhat flawed, because her main characters are perfect. I didn’t believe in them for an instant. Seventeen-year-old (female) Emerson meets Michael who is older and has a model’s good looks. Oh, and he is also funny, smart, brave, gentle, you name it. Of course he quickly falls for Emerson. Ugh. Am I too cynical?
Summary from Goodreads:
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should’ve happened?
I did like the book’s funny, light tone. I often smiled reading it. I think it might appeal to many teenage girls looking for a quick read. I’ve never said in a review that a particular book would be a good book for the beach, but I say it now.
Emerson spends a lot of the book trying to contain her magnetic attraction to Michael. I could have appreciated this if Michael seemed more real. As described, the relationship seemed one-dimensional to me. My pet peeve (which are always petty, after all) about this book was the number of times the author had Emerson blushing to show her embarrassment in interacting with Michael. It was definitely in the double-digits. Emerson is a blushing machine.
Other than small glimpses of the past seen by Emerson, which she refers to as “rips”, no actual time travel happens until the third section of the book. I could give a thumbs up to a time travel book with so little time travel, but it would probably be less likely. Until the end of the book when there were some interesting plot twists, overall I found the storyline to be ho-hum. Some aspects of the plot were left unresolved at the end, in a way that I found annoying. The author has written another book in this series, Timepiece: An Hourglass novel. (See her official website here) I believe it’s more appropriate to describe Hourglass as a romance with a some time travel flavor.