For All Time

S. & S. Sept. 2021. 368p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534485976.
Gr 9 Up–Across millennia, in eras from distant past to far future, Tamar and Fayard always find each other. Although their lives in each time period are quite different, they are always romantically entangled. Whenever they meet, they feel something familiar and sometimes have dreams or visions of other lives, but complete memories rarely surface. The story winds through time, showing their lives in Mali in 1325; traveling from Philadelphia to North Carolina in 1924; in South Carolina, current day; and on a different planet in 2260. Sadly, no matter the time or place, Tamar and Fayard never get their happily ever after. After a dramatic incident in current day, they finally realize what is happening and that they now need to make a difficult decision. The narrative blend of romance, historical fiction, and speculative fiction works well, but the premise stumbles slightly in the execution. The multiple narratives don’t weave together into a united whole. The section in one era seems completely independent from those in the other eras. It’s only in the latter half that readers will begin to piece together that these protagonists are the same people who are trying, through time, to get their relationship right. Secondary characters appear in different forms in the various time periods, but don’t add cohesiveness. Despite this, the story is engaging and the resolution is surprising and satisfying. All of the primary characters are Black with some diversity among the secondaries.
VERDICT This inventive, genre-blending romance stretching across eras could benefit from more cohesion, but is ultimately appealing and enjoyable.

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