BOOK REVIEW: If I Could Turn Back Time by Nicola Doherty

Title: If I Could Turn Back Time
Author: Nicola Doherty
Genre: Romance, Chick-lit, Time travel
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date: 10th April 2014
Goodreads Summary: What if you found The One, then lost him again?

Or not so much lost him as became the neurotic, needy girlfriend from hell. The girl who tried to make him choose between her and his job, and got seriously paranoid about his relationship with his best female friend...

Zoe knows she doesn't deserve another chance with David. But if there's the tiniest possibility of making things right, she'll snatch it. Even if it means breaking the laws of physics to do so...

{ Review }

If I Could Turn Back Time follows the story of Zoe Kennedy as she desperately tries to repair her relationship with the love of her life, David. It's nearing Christmas and Zoe is still miserable about her break up with perfect David which happened back in September. Then, after one wild night out, she wakes up in David's bed. Six months in the past. After the initial shock, Zoe realises that this is perfect. She's been given the opportunity to redo her relationship with David without becoming the neurotic and jealous girlfriend that he broke up with. She knows exactly what's going to happen in the future so she can fix the past and correct all her past mistakes when it comes to boyfriends, friends and work. However, Zoe realises that time travel might not be all it's cracked up to be. 

If I Could Turn Back Time tells the story that pretty much everybody has dreamed about. I can't think of anyone who has never wished that they could just turn back the clock and make everything right. This story is unique because it explores an idea everyone thinks about: turning back time, but then it turns it on its head and portrays it in a negative way. I thought that this book was going to be your standard chick-it, good and entertaining, but nothing original; however, this book seems to advocate the saying 'what will be will be' and I actually think I've learnt a thing or two about how to go about life. How many books within the chick-lit genre can you say that about? 

Zoe is a really easy character to relate to. This story is downright hilarious at times and that's all down to Zoe's narrative. She cocks up loads and seems to bullshit her way through a lot of life but there's something very real about her. The story is written from Zoe's point of view which is perfect for seeing how Zoe's state of mind changes throughout the book. Her character really develops and the reader grows to like Zoe more and more as you read on and Zoe figures out what and who she really wants in life. The novel gets off to a slow start and I think that's because you just want to hit Zoe over the head with a book - this book. She starts off as a rather whiny young woman who's willing to change herself for a guy, but she turns into someone who isn't afraid to go after what she wants and can be honest with herself so you end up wanting to be her. 

Although Doherty plants several different possible scenarios for an ending in your mind at the very beginning of the novel, it's not particularly clear which one of them she's going to follow which keeps you on your toes throughout. This story isn't just about finding love, it's also about friendship, work and, most importantly, life. This story is probably so successful because it's not 100% focussed on a woman chasing a man, there's more depth to it than that. 

The time travel aspect is an interesting thing to examine in this novel. It plays quite a big role in the novel at the beginning, but as the story unfolds it becomes a smaller and smaller part of it and I liked this. Although the initial premise of the story is completely unrealistic, the main body of it isn't. I tore through this book in one sitting because once the story really gets going, you just can't wait to find out more about Zoe and her antics in the 'past'. The middle section of the novel really is fantastic, making this one of the best pieces of chick-lit I've ever read; however, towards the end it all started to go a bit downhill. 

I think I'm actually beginning to hate the ending of novels. All novels. If I Could Turn Back Time was so good and then in the last fifty pages or so, it got a bit too clich├ęd and weird. A lot of things about the ending don't particularly add up in my opinion and I'm a little confused. The time travel aspect was always going to be a little difficult to explain in a story that is so obviously rooted in the real world and unfortunately I don't think the author really succeeded in weaving a credible explanation.  

All in all, I was seriously impressed by If I Could Turn Back Time, which completely blew my expectations out of the water. This is a brilliant piece of fiction that looks like it might be your standard sappy romance, but it turns out to be an important life lesson. I would highly recommend this to fans of the chick-lit and romance genre, particularly those that are beginning to lose faith in it because Nicola Doherty will restore it. It's a shame that the ending let this book down, but everything leading up to those last few pages is fantastic so give this book a shot.

Many thanks to Fran at Headline for providing me with a review copy. 

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  1. I am gonna have to check this out. When I saw the cover for it, I thought it was just gonna be another soppy chick-lit book but by the looks of your review I did not give this enough credit.

    I didn't even realize that this had anything to do with time travel!

    Thanks for sharing this chick and have a great weekend! :) xxx

    1. I have to admit, that's what I thought too, but I was pleasantly surprised! I mean it's not exactly 'deep' or anything, I just think it's far better than the other chick-lit books out there.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. I saw some really good reviews about this book on Goodreads and reading your review just made me want to read it more! I'm not a big fan of chick-lit genre but it's nice to read a few of them from time to time =)

  3. Good review. I like the cover. I don't read to much of this genre.;)

  4. Hmm, this is the first time I've heard of this one and I love the sound of it. Not a fan of time travel but this book doesn't look like it'll complicate things. Adding it to my TBR list. Great review.

  5. I read Nicola Doherty's debut book and really liked it. I'm a little bummed out that neither of her books is available to purchase in paperback in the US through a major retailer.

    I've been noticing an upswing in the trend with both time travel and trying to win back old lovers. I'm enjoying the books but the novelty is beginning to wear off.

    I haven't read the book yet, but it seems sort of sad that a book that started off so amazingly ended in a cliche.


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