Thursday 17 October 2013


Book review: Step Back in Time by Ali McNamara

My edition: Paperback (proof copy), to be published on 7 November 2013 by Sphere, 436 pages.

Description: How many lifetimes would you travel to find a love that lasts for ever?

When single career girl Jo-Jo steps onto a zebra crossing and gets hit by a car, she awakes to find herself in 1964. The fashion, the music, her job, even her romantic life: everything is different. And then it happens three more times, and Jo-Jo finds herself living a completely new life in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The only people she can rely on are Harry and Ellie, two companions from 2013, and George, the owner of a second-hand record store.

If she's ever to return from her travels, Jo-Jo must work out why she's jumping through time like this. And if she does make it back, will her old life ever be the same again?


One of the worst things when reading an engaging book is when for whichever reason you have to close it when you have just a few more pages left to read. In my case this happened because the friend I was meeting had arrived, but this was one of those occasions where I simply had to be 'rude' and ask her if she didn't mind me finishing my book first. Of course she was okay with this, so I raced through the remaining pages, eager to find out how the story would end.

As soon as I was finished I looked up at my friend and exclaimed, "This was so good!" and continued to tell her all about the novel and the clever use of Beatles references throughout. She may have been a bit bewildered as I was skipping the crucial fact that this was a time travel story so it probably did not make any sense at all, but I just had to talk about it. And something that can get me so enthusiastic, is a winner in my book.

The story is this: accountant Jo-Jo gets hit by a car and suddenly finds herself in the swinging sixties. Her clothes and hair have changed to suit the era and her new persona. Needless to say she's very confused at first, but when she meets some familiar faces in the form of her assistant Ellie, an acquaintance by the name of Harry, and George, who owns the Groovy Records shop, she slowly starts to get used to her new surroundings and even enjoys her new life - even if all the people she recognises only know the Jo-Jo from the 60s and she's still none the wiser as to why she travelled back in time and how she can get back to the 21st century.

Just when Jo-Jo is all settled in in 1963, she is hit by a car again and transported to the 1970s. Once again she comes across the familiar faces of Ellie and Harry but they're completely different people again. The only constants during her time travels seems to be the frequent mention of the Beatles (there are song references and she even the meets some of the people crucial to the careers of the Fab Four) and George, the record store owner. He clearly knows more about time travelling than anyone else she meets on her journey and he guides her as best as possible as she travels from the 70s to the 80s and even 90s on a journey that will change her life forever.

If my previous mention of having to finish this book didn't make it clear: I absolutely adored Step Back in Time! Admittedly the start was a bit slow up until the point where I wasn't sure if I was going to like the novel at all, but it didn't take long for me to fall in love with the character of Jo-Jo (and the others of course, especially Harry) and her magical mystery tour through the decades.

And if the cheesy pun in my previous sentence wasn't obvious enough, I'm a big fan of the Beatles so to have their music be such a central and crucial part of the story was a really original idea, and I enjoyed trying to spot all the references throughout (though I missed a lot of them - so thank you Ali McNamara for including a handy list at the end of your novel).

In short: Step Back in Time is an absolute must-read because it's a wonderful novel filled with colourful characters, a sweet romance story, fun clothes and fab (four) music references!

You can pre-order your copy from,, Waterstones or your own preferred retailer.

Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:



Twitter: @AliMcNamara

Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Loved your review, Zarina!

    Sometimes when I've finished a book that has blown me away, I'd want to gab about it too - just because it's THAT good!

    Fabulous review, Z x x

    Kev x

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Kev! x


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