Theme Element: 9
This is an Official Review by a Time Travel Romance Writer Official Reviewer
Review for Best Gift, The
Author: Wendy Markham
Date of Review: 11/29/09
Reviewer Comments: Clara Becker’s Christmas couldn’t be better. She has just told her husband that they are expecting their first child and he has gifted her with a black Lab puppy. They are feeling extremely blesses when all of a sudden an earthquake hits. Clara knew that living in California had its downside, but she had never experienced a quake before.
When the quake subsides, Clara finds herself three years in the future (2012) without her husband and hugely pregnant. She doesn’t know what to think and the panic almost over takes her. She becomes convinced that something horrible has happened to her husband when suddenly she is back in 2009. Clara knows that she must figure out what happened and why she is going back and forth to the future.
Her husband, Drew, doesn’t know that Clara has time traveled before or that they first met when she traveled back to 1941. He just knows that he is having some pretty vivid dreams and memories that don’t seem to be related to his real life. He doesn’t know whether or not to tell Clara.
Ms. Markham has created quite the holiday novel. It is definitely a unique take on the power of love and the holiday season. The idea of time traveling at Christmas and whether or not the past can be changed brings up some fairly weighty topics. Ms. Markham tackles the realities of time travel by having Clara call her high school physics teacher for answers about what can and cannot really happen. I thought this was a nice touch.
Having Clara struggle with accepting that her husband may leave her in some way in the future was interesting. We are figuring it out with her as she tries to learn what has happened and just like Clara, we are left waiting until the end of the book. It also brings up the nature of love. Clara lost Drew in 1941 when his name was Jed and he was killed in WWII. She has found him again, but in the future he appears to be lost to her. Will she be able to find him? Can true love transcend space and time? What is the purpose of her time traveling?
The constant transitions between 2009 and 2012 were very confusing for me. I am not sure if that was intentional by Ms. Markham to have her readers feel the same confusion that Clara felt or if that was an unintentional byproduct. It certainly helped me to fit into Clara’s shoes and to understand her character a little bit better. The disconcerting feeling did tend to interfere with my enjoyment of the story, but overall, it was a good read. The story moves along quickly and doesn’t spend too much time keeping us in limbo.