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After Eden

After Eden - Helen  Douglas This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.

I enjoy stories about time travel, but one of my big challenges can be trying to wrap my mind around the science. Often, an author's explanation can be so complex that I eventually give up trying to figure out whether the author has covered all the bases involving the paradoxes of time travel. In After Eden, Helen Douglas keeps the science simple and accessible, but there were some plot points that didn't make sense. For just one example that happened to be mentioned in the synopsis, would someone a mere 100 years in the future not know who Hitler is? Think about what we know today about rulers who existed thousands of years in the past. This might seem like a small point to nitpick, but Ryan is the time traveler whose ignorance of Hitler is referenced numerous times throughout the book, and it's one of the things that makes Eden question the veracity of his background. I'm puzzled by the author's decision to include this in the story; it seems sloppy, and the plot could have easily moved forward without it.

OK, now that I got that off my chest, I did enjoy After Eden. Ryan has traveled back in time to prevent a catastrophe. He must pose as a high school student while disguising his true purpose. Eden and Ryan are both nice, polite, and completely unexceptional. (Well, excluding Ryan's whole time travel thing.) It's no surprise that they quickly become attracted to each other, and their relationship is sweet, if not a tad boring. Eden must also handle her relationship with her best friend, Connor, who seems to want to transition their relationship beyond friendship. Connor is one of the big missteps in this story. I'm not sure what Eden finds appealing enough in him to label him as a best friend. His main characteristic is his jealousy of Ryan, and Eden must continually swat him away like a pesky fly. Maybe he's a great guy, and he had a personality transplant the moment Ryan hit the scene, but this is not made clear. As with the Hitler reference, I'm puzzled why the author portrayed him in this manner.

Problems aside, this is an easy, light read with pleasant characters, except for the Big Bad who every reader will identify long before Eden and Ryan do. The ending was a bit sappy and highly predictable, but still sweet and satisfying.

Note - I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.