How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

35411685A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

 

Eh. This had so much potential but it fizzled out under the weight of uninspired writing and a dull plot. There was a lot the author could have done with teh different time periods, really bring them to life, but it was all superficial. The reader never gets a sense of the different eras, so they become interchangeable. And really, the protagonist meets a famous person practically in every era. How is that realistic? I found myself rolling my eyes when he happens to meet the Fitzgeralds.

There is very little plot to keep the reader hooked. Yes, the protagonist is in search of his daughter, but the urgency is just not there. There is also too much reliance on coincidence. *SPOILER* Camille just happens to see a picture with Tom in it, for example. It asks too much from the reader. We can’t suspend that much belief, even in a fantasy novel.

With amateurish writing and flat characters, this is not one I’d recommend. There isn’t even much of a love story, definitely not enough of one to “stop time.”

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