Now Then and Everywhen
By Rysa Walker
47North (528 pages, $14.95 paperback/$4.99 digital, April 1, 2020)
I’m a sucker for a good time travel story, so when the opportunity came up to read an advance copy of Now Then and Everywhen I jumped (sadly just to my couch, not to a different timeline). I haven’t read Rysa Walker’s earlier CHRONOS novels, so I had zero expectations or previous knowledge of the universe. Now Then and Everywhen will entice readers that have read Ms. Walker’s earlier work, as this novel explains CHRONOS origins, but you don’t need to be familiar with the previous books in the series as this one examines CHRONOS through a new historical lens.
We begin in the year 2136 with Madison Grace, a grad student in Maryland who discovers a small disk that lights up at her touch buried in her grandmother’s overgrown garden. Suddenly she finds herself off the coast of what turns out to be 1906 Florida. She makes the jump back to her own time and begins to research the strange ties that her family seems to have to the time travel organization called CHRONOS. More than a century later, in 2304, Tyson Reyes is researching the civil rights movement. He’s a historian working for CHRONOS and he’s undercover in 1965, working to understand the intricacies of a historical moment.
Tyson and Madi notice odd occurrences as they begin to cross each other’s timelines. Then, a massive time shift drastically changes both of their home timelines. Millions of lives have been erased and historical moments like the assassination of Dr. King have changed. The two time travelers believe it to be the fault of the other… until they meet and realize there are other, darker forces at play. The two team up to set things straight.
Now Then and Everywhen is quite the ride! It is a totally engrossing read, and I enjoyed the twists and turns of the very exciting storyline. It was difficult at times to keep everyone straight, and I often wished for a directory of characters and what year they lived in. I suppose that’s part of the fun, trying to remember what year, what family and why they matter for each character.
And matter they do! Every person means something to the storyline, which creates a rich tapestry of intrigue for our main characters, Madi and Tyson.
Rysa Walker does an excellent job creating a believable universe where time travel is possible. The historical lens of true events makes it interesting and educational to imagine what would happen if history was altered. I can only imagine the bulletin boards she needed to keep everyone’s timeline in order behind the scenes.
I applaud Ms. Walker for the way she creates multiple story lines while keeping the reader on track, as we jump back and forth not only across time, but from one narrator to another. Confusing at times, but for the most part we keep up just fine. That’s good storytelling. Her love for her characters shines through and the reader cares about them immediately.
Our imaginations are engaged from the very first chapter. Not only by sorting through a world where time travel is possible, but also by making us re-imagine the past. The blend of the futuristic and historical is quite inventive and engrossing.
You won’t be able to put it down, guaranteed. Highly recommend!
Caitlin is the COO of Workbox in Chicago. With the bulk of her career based in hospitality at luxury-level resorts, her path has been an interesting one! No matter where that path has led, building great teams has always been at the core. Caitlin acquired a multicultural perspective through her many experiences traveling and living abroad in the United States, Europe and South America. Her last review for us was Foe by Iain Reid.