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I Stopped Time based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
I Stopped Time is generally categorized as historical fiction, women’s literature, and a mystery novel. I’m going to add one more. This books speaks to me as a historical romance. Interestingly enough the two main characters are mother and son so the romance is not between them. The romance is between the mother and another character who has only bits of page time, sprinkled throughout the book. They do get their HEA so that qualifies it as a romance. I will not name the object of her affection as it would be a spoiler. The book begins in current time with the memories of Sir James, a retired member of parliament, who took retirement due to a scandal involving his homosexuality. James’s mother abandoned him to his father when he was a small boy, which leads us to think poorly of his mother, and, since he adores his father, we assume him to be a good and loving man. These characterizations will require rethinking as the book progresses, and may or may not prove to be accurate. The time frame of the story flips back and forth between Edwardian England and the early 21st Century. James’s mother Lottie passes away in 2009 at the age of 108. Although he did not know her, James finds himself the heir to many boxes of Lottie’s photographs, spanning six decades. With the help of a college historical researcher James begins to work his way through his mother’s life and the reason she left this treasure trove to him. Lottie is attracted to photography as a young teenager and becomes a model and then an apprentice to a photographer in her seaside village. This brings her opportunities and scorn. It is the latter that is the platform in the book for the early period of women’s rights. Lottie takes hundreds of pictures and it isn’t until late in the book that we understand that it is not just her pursuit of photography as an art form but something much more personal and profound as it affects her son. The First World War features prominently in the story, from the optimistic, if not truly understood, beginnings to the catastrophic results of the fighting and the aftermath when the surviving soldiers return home, changed men in a changed world. PTSD, a condition without a name at the time, takes its toll as does untreated or poorly treated loss of limbs and other war injuries. Racism is touched upon as we see how even talented and well known non-white people are treated. It is really cringe worthy and sad to realize that we as a society haven’t come as far socially as we have legally. We get many tales of Lottie’s origins and she goes through several names and identities before finding her real starting point in life. This is some of the baggage that Lottie must carry with her as she moves between Brighton and London throughout her 108 years. Rather than ending the story feeling terrible for Lottie and James there is a kind of closure for both of them. Ms. Davis is a great writer in that she can allow her book to stew and bubble, give us a bit of the truth, and then pour out a completely different path for her characters than we expected to that point. I loved this book. It is long and requires time to savor it, but trust me, it is totally worth it to enjoy the many stories along the way. I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical romance or mysteries, or, well, you may want to categorize it yourself. Enjoy!
Another beautifully-written tale by talented author, Jane Davis, I Stopped Time is the story of a mother, Lottie Pye, and her estranged son, James that sweeps us back to 1900s Brighton, and wartime London. James knows very little of his mother, until he is bequeathed her photographs, and, with the help of young Jenny, pieces together a picture of his mother. In turn, the reader also uncovers the character of this fascinating and determined woman, who became a famous photographer. In this delightful tale, we follow both Lottie and James’s often difficult, but ultimately uplifting journeys to find the truth about their own backgrounds. I Stopped Time is a book you don’t want to end, and when it does, you want to start reading it all over again. A literary marvel!