Tuesday 19 July 2022


Book review: Time After Time by Louise Pentland [blog tour]

Louise Pentland is as a prolific British YouTuber and Instagrammer, whose online channels are homey, family-oriented, and cosy. Alongside her social media work, she has written a trio of novels about fictional character Robin Wilde, and non-fiction book, MumLife, a memoir about motherhood. As a big fan of Louise's online content – and a book blogger to boot – it's shocking I haven't read any of her books to date. So I'm very glad I've FINALLY been able to rectify this shameful fact by devouring her latest standalone novel (in a single afternoon, that's how much I got swept away by the story!). 

Tabitha lives an uneventful life. She works in the town she grew up in, has had the same best friend since school, and has spend so long with her boyfriend that they've moved well into the comfort zone. She isn't super unhappy with her routine, but she does occasionally wish there was a bit more excitement in her life. Luckily for her, excitement arrives into the vintage shop she runs in the form of Beth. Beth who is bold, wonderful, has an amazing fashion sense, and who happens to live in the 1980s... 

Because, somehow Tabby has found a way to go back in time. And every time she does, she sees different aspects of her own life in a different light – giving her the push to make some difficult choices, and doing what she really wants rather than what is expected of her. 

Oh my goodness you guys, THIS BOOK! I got sucked straight into this utterly heart-warming and feel-good story and had to finish it in a single sitting. That's how much I loved hopping back in time with Tabby and relive some of the best of the 80s. 

While contemporary Tabby's life was meant to be dull in contrast, there were actually things I very much enjoyed about that too. Not in the least the fact that she works in a vintage shop (which, by the way, is called Pearls and Doodles after Louise's children – adorable!), as I love rummaging in second-hand and antiques shops to find hidden treasures. Working in one and getting first dibs on everything that comes in sounds like absolute bliss, to be honest. 

Although I cannot lie that some other aspects of Tabby's life very much felt like she was "stuck", especially on the romantic front. I disliked her boyfriend David from the get-go, even though he didn't seem an incredibly awful guy to begin with (spoiler alert: he was), there were some snide remarks and unfair expectations that started to become bigger and more of a problem as the story went on. 

However, this isn't the most important part of this story as it's not 'what I would call' (you just read that in the voice of Miranda's mother, didn't you?) a romance novel. Instead, it's about Tabby's own journey of self-discovery. The romantic aspect is just a small part of it as it's more about her family, where she came from, and growing confident to be the person she wants to be. It's a very empowering and uplifting message, and one that I love seeing take centre stage in a woman's fiction novel. It doesn't always have to be about finding the right romantic partner, as long as it's about finding the right path for yourself. GO, TABBY!

On top of that, there is the time travel element, elevating it from a "normal" novel about self-discovery, to something a bit more fun and unexpected. It reminded me of the works of Ali McNamara (especially Step Back in Time, which has a somewhat similar concept) and Carrie Hope Fletcher in that way, as they both tend to write a fantastical element into their books that require readers to suspend belief. I really loved that aspect, especially because Tabby travelled back to the 80s, with the big hair-dos and interesting fashion choices that come with that. 

I enjoyed those chapters so much, in fact, that I wish we got even more of it. It would've been great to see Tabby and Beth explore more places in their small town – or even beyond it. The 80s are such a bold and colourful decade, that there is a lot of potential for scenes set in places such as roller discos (SUCH FUN!), movie theatres, or even clothes shops and picking up some iconic treads. An idea for future spin-off novels or novellas, perhaps? One can dream...

Either way, Time After Time was an absolutely joyous reading experience and I felt bereft when I turned the final page and had to say goodbye to my new fictional-bestie Tabby. It was a very easy read, in the best possible way, and so incredibly funny (Lindsey Kelk levels of funny, which means REALLY funny!). 

I cannot believe it took me THIS long to pick up one of Louise's novels, but I'm hooked and will be moving the Wilde series towards the top of my towering to-be-read pile immediately. 

Time After Time by Louise Pentland is published by Zaffre Books (part of Bonnier) on 21 July 2022 and you can pre-order your copy now from your favourite book shop.

Blog tour stops for Time After Time by Louise Pentland

This review for Time After Time is a part of the official blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me by the publisher, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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