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27 March 2016

Review: 'If I Could Turn Back in Time' by Beth Harbison (2015)

Thirty-seven year old Ramie Phillips has led a very successful life. She made her fortune and now she hob nobs with the very rich and occasionally the semi-famous, and she enjoys luxuries she only dreamed of as a middle-class kid growing up in Potomac, Maryland. But despite it all, she can't ignore the fact that she isn't necessarily happy. In fact, lately Ramie has begun to feel more than a little empty.

On a boat with friends off the Florida coast, she tries to fight her feelings of discontent with steel will and hard liquor. No one even notices as she gets up and goes to the diving board and dives off...

Suddenly Ramie is waking up, straining to understand a voice calling in the distance...It's her mother: "Wake up! You're going to be late for school again. I'm not writing a note this time..."

Ramie finds herself back on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, with a second chance to see the people she's lost and change the choices she regrets. How did she get back here? Has she gone off the deep end? Is she really back in time? Above all, she'll have to answer the question that no one else can: What it is that she really wants from the past, and for her future?

Wouldn't it be great to be able to go back in time and perhaps change some decisions you made or experience certain days again? I know I would definitely take the chance if it was given to me, and I love books in which characters get to travel through time, for whatever reason. So, when I was approved to receive a review copy of Beth Harbison's 'If I Could Turn Back Time', which was originally released in July 2015, I was really excited. Not only because of the topic of the novel, but also because I had already heard numerous positive things about author Beth Harbison and her books, and I looked forward to finally reading one of her novels myself!

Ramie Phillips is thirty-seven and quite proud of what she has accomplished in her life so far. However, when she's at a luxurious party on a yacht and one of her friends announces her pregnancy, Ramie can't help but feel sad about the absence of love in her life; where's her chance to start her own family? As her questions and the alcohol take over, she suddenly decides to jump off the yacht, hitting her head on the way down. To her complete surprise, Ramie doesn't wake up in the hospital but in her teenage bedroom and within the body of her 18-year-old self. Suddenly Ramie is given the chance to rethink some of the decisions she made when she was a teenager and to do things over. The question is: what is it she really wants for herself?

I was immediately intrigued by the promising storyline of Beth Harbison's 2015 release 'If I Could Turn Back Time.' Yes, it's a storyline that has been done many times before (heroine is unhappy with her life and suddenly finds herself travelling back in time to rethink some of her past decisions and actions), but I always love seeing how authors interpret it in their own way. In the book, main character Ramie is transported back to when she was 18 and given the chance of a do-over. I quite liked Ramie and the secondary characters in the novel and was curious to find out what would happen to all of them and how Ramie's decisions would influence everything.

Unfortunately, I couldn't help but feel as if the story just didn't live up to its potential. I didn't warm to Ramie as much as I wanted to and especially the middle part of the book seemed to drag a bit, with not too much going on. I wanted to finish the novel and see how everything would eventually work out, but I wasn't as engrossed by the story as I hoped I would be. I did enjoy Beth Harbison's writing style and definitely look forward to giving one of her other books a try in the future. Overall, 'If I Could Turn Back Time' is a light-hearted and enjoyable novel which I'm sure certain readers will really enjoy, but it was unfortunately not the great read I was personally hoping it would be. 
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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