The Psychology of Time Travel
By Kate Mascrenhas
Published by Crooked Lane Books $26.99
Gripping and mysterious
A twist on the classical Gin and Tonic is a perfect drink for this book. It’s refreshing and can be re-made multiple ways – just like the timelines in this book.
In The Psychology of Time Travel, Kate Mascrenhas asks the question: how would time travel affect the mental health of people who jump back and forth between timelines?
In the 1960s, four friends came together to create a device that will allow time travel. When they begin testing their experiments on themselves as subjects, it goes wrong for a member of the team. When the four women go on BBC to speak to the public about their creation, one member of the team, Barbara, starts to babble incomprehensibly. After the disastrous media interview, Barbara is ousted by the team and sent to an inpatient mental hospital. In the mind of the public, time travel makes people go crazy. Margaret, the financial backer of the time traveling project, becomes obsessed with saving the project’s reputation. Margaret finds an assessment that keeps anyone who has shown any sign of mental distress away from time travel forever – or so she thinks.
Fast forward to 50 years later, in 2017, we meet Ruby Rubello, who is spending time with her grandmother. Ruby knows that her grandmother was one of the original pioneers, but Ruby’s mother barred her from mentioning it with no reason as to why. When Ruby’s grandmother starts receiving anonymous letters that are from time travelers, Ruby starts to ask questions.
Ruby is not the only one asking questions about time travel. In addition to Ruby, we also follow Odette in 2017. Odette is volunteering at a museum for the first time when she smells something coming from the basement. When she investigates, she discovers a dead body. Odette needs to get past the trauma of discovering the body by learning the identity of the dead woman, but no one will help her identify the dead woman. When the only journalist investigating the case is threatened, Odette gets personally involved.
This book never stopped being compelling and I couldn’t put it down because of the ingenious way the stories intersect – not only in the present, but in the past. This story is an instant page turner.
Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!