Glimmers, the first of a trilogy of novels by debut author Barbara Brooke, twists women’s fiction with the element of time/memory travel.
Paige Mackenzie’s life is calm and lovely but missing that bit of passion, of spark. Though she lives the suburban dream (doting husband, nice house, two wonderful kids) she occasional imagines stepping into someone else’s shoes for just few hours.
When she finds a pair of 80’s suede ankle boots on a thrift store treasure hunt, her life gains some of the spice she’d been craving. With just a touch, her vision goes high-def, the room spins, and she is transported from her kitchen to an avacado green flashback. She caught a “glimmer” of memory and now sees the world through the eyes of Delilah, a teenager from West Virginia. Though she feels like she is experiencing Delilah’s brush with young love, first job, and burgeoning cooking talents over an entire summer, when the episode ends, she has been gone only minutes. Paige’s experience leaves her exhilarated, unsettled, and with new culinary skills.
Back in her normal life, she resumes the position of her sister Hailey’s wedding-planning lackey. Paige jumps at Hailey’s beck and call — she stands in for her at her wedding gown fitting, she picks up her engagement ring from the jewelers. Unable to resist the allure of the sparkling diamond, she slips the ring onto her finger and slides into Hailey’s life. Through her sister’s eyes, she discovers how passionate love can be — with someone other than her fiancee.
Before Paige can condemn her sister’s reckless behavior, she latches onto a glimmer of memory from a pair of cameo earrings. The family heirloom sends her back to the British Regency Era as Emma, a headstrong young woman who longs to follow her heart instead of the proper path of her times.
Paige wrestles with the reality of what her startling new power means and what she should do with the insights her glimmers have given her. Each glimmer helps her grow as a person and she works to untangle the threads that tie each person’s memories to her life.
Glimmers is a fresh mash-up of women’s fiction, romance, with flashes of fantasy. It’s light summer read perfect for a day by the pool (or in my case, curled up on a rainy day) and tame enough for audiences from YA to grandmothers — no offensive language or explicit sex (though a few inferences are there). Paige is a relatable character, and I can imagine hanging out with her and discussing our days over a glass of wine.
Though the novel just skims the surface of the powers involved in living memories via touch, I hope to discover more about the unique trait passes down through Paige’s family in later books. I look forward to seeing how Brooke develops the characters in the next installment, Beyond Glimmers, due later this year.
Glimmers will be available on audiobook in September, with the voice of Ann Richardson bringing Paige and her adventures to life.
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