Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished… He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home – Opening narration from the TV series Quantum Leap.

timetunnelPhil: And there you have it. Pretty much the plot line from the book “Step Back in Time” by Ali McNamara.

OK, so the time jumping is partly to improve the lot of others and partly to teach main protagonist Jo-Jo how to live a better life, but that’s the only real difference. Well that and the Quantum Leap accelerator is a zebra crossing and white sports car. And Al is called Ringo.

Our story takes place in the World’s End area of London – a very clever move as it allows Jo-Jo to judge the time she’s arrived in by the clothes everyone, including herself, is wearing. Move away from the Kings Road and to be honest, no-one is so achingly trendy.

The other clever move is that the book is perfectly aware just home many plots it’s ripping off. Jo-Jo remembers Quantum Leap at one point for example and mentions Dr Who at another when the whole time jumping thing is being explained to her. I enjoyed that a lot, it’s a nice knowing nod to the reader.

It’s also a good thing that we don’t mess around too much with why Jo-Jo is leaping. She has a guide (he owns the record shop near where her leaps take place) who talks her through it and explains how she changed peoples lives in the previous leap. She also grasps the situation pretty much straight away providing a welcome escape from pages where the reader wishes she’d just get on with it. We’ve read the back of the book, we know what’s happening, now crack on with the story.

For Beatles fans, there are puns on song titles to be spotted throughout the story and if you don’t spot them all, a list at the back of the book.

This is a pretty undemanding read, but in a good way. The story bustles along at a pace. You know it’s all going to be OK in the end and along the way all the cultural references are great fun.

If I have one problem, it’s that the the gist of the story is, “Woman, stop spending all your time running your own successful business. You need a life beyond work and a bloke to complete yourself.” But then this is chick-lit after all so I guess it goes with the territory.

One to read on the sun lounger with a cool drink.

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