Book Review: Before Time Runs Out by Amy Matayo

  • Title: Before Time Runs Out
  • Series: Charles & Company Romance #1
  • Author: Amy Matayo
  • Genre: Time Travel Romance
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Would I recommend: Time travel? Romance? Classic literature? What are you waiting for?! Order this now!

From Goodreads:

Graduate student Bree Sanders is failing the one class she needs to get her degree. So when her professor gives her an ultimatum—ace her dissertation or risk having to repeat her final semester—she knows she has to pull out all the stops. After scrambling for an idea, she decides to create her own Ghost Club, a club that blames ghosts for unsolved crimes, the same type of club originally founded two centuries ago by Charles Dickens.

What she doesn’t expect is to find an original copy of one of Dickens’ early works, or to be transplanted into Dickens’s actual ghost club meeting, circa 1870, the instant she picks it up.

When Bree shows up in nineteenth-century England wearing cut-offs and an old t-shirt, her only option is to hide. The Cambridge of 1870 won’t look kindly on a woman dressed like her. So, when Theodore Keyes finds her tucked behind a bookcase at the Trinity College library and immediately demands to know where she came from, she knows he doesn’t belong here either. Turns out she’s right; the same book caused him to time-travel from 1947 almost three months ago and he’s been stuck in England since.

Together, the two vow to work side-by-side in their search for the lost book that will take them home. But as their feelings for one another deepen, Theo and Bree are caught between a desire to return to the lives they each left behind, and the knowledge that if they find the book, they won’t be able to leave together.

In the end, they each must decide which sacrifice is worth making—the one that will cost them their hearts, or the one that could cost them their very existence.

My review:

I love a good time travel story, and Amy Matayo delivers. This isn’t her normal genre, but she has done a bang-up job of writing a story with characters that you’ll cheer for and a plot that just sucks you right in.

Bree and Theo’s initial meeting, and their interactions as they try to figure out how to relate to the past and to each other, are just how you’d imagine they’d be if you found yourself whisked back into another century. Even though they aren’t from the same time period, Theo and Bree learn pretty quickly that they’ll need to work together, both to get back home and to survive the nineteenth century!

I could really relate to Bree. She’s a modern female, pretty outspoken, not inclined to be patted on the head (figuratively speaking) and told to mind her place and keep quiet. I wouldn’t do real well with that, either. But here she is, in a time period where that’s basically what women are told to do.

And I’m not an avid reader of romance, but I will always make an exception to that general rule for Amy Matayo. The romance isn’t forced, it isn’t insta-romance. It develops organically as the story unfolds. Much better that way in my opinion.

If you like time travel, strong female characters, plot twists that leave your head spinning, and classic literature references, you need to read Before Time Runs Out. Five stars to a well-written and enjoyable read.

Thanks to the author and publisher for an advance review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

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