She’s Me

Grunge color texture, blue and brown color

OPPOSITES, AND ALL THAT

3 STARS

Jenna McBride is a world-famous, much in demand supermodel. She has a beautiful face, a marvelously thin and toned body and the personality of a run-over rattlesnake.

While she may have been born a beautiful child, she is, as a young adult, still beautiful because she takes good care of her face, her hair and her skin. She has that marvelously thin body, not because of drugs or anorexia, but because of a healthy, low-calorie diet and specifically targeted physical exercises. And she has the vicious personality as self-protection against a world, a world that includes her parents and social companions, which sees her only as a sex object and a bankroll.

Then, one fateful day, after finishing a photo shoot in the English countryside, Jenna pricks her finger on a rose’s thorn just as she sits down on a bench in front of an old vicarage. And, just like that, Jenna’s body slips into a coma and her spirit is transported back 43 years to 1963. She finds herself on that same bench, but that’s all she recognizes.

Jenna’s spirit is now trapped in the body of a young woman who is the complete antithesis of herself – plump, homely and painfully shy. It seems Lucy McGillicuddy pricked her finger on a rose’s thorn by the same vicarage bench at the very same time as Jenna, just decades apart in time. Now, two spirits must learn to live together and thrive together until they can find a way for Jenna to return to her own time.

Mimi Barbour presents a marvelous set-up for a time-travel fantasy and subsequent double romance. But she tries to execute it in only 55 pages. That is simply not enough space to transition cleanly and clearly from an initial diagnosis of multiple personality disorder by the doctors treating Lucy to an acceptance by those same doctors that both Jenna and time travel are real. And it is not enough space to adequately deal with either the return of the spirits to their own time or with the double romance that occurs while Jenna and Lucy are entwined.

Thus, scene transitions are often sloppy and confusing. Several pivotal conversations are truncated, leaving a feeling of “what just happened here?” And, in the denouement, an action that Lucy doesn’t take is definitely dramatic in terms of creating tension but does not jibe with the final scene.

Quite frankly, if the author had just used another 30 pages for some fine-tuning and some fleshing out, this story would have been a five-star read.

Cover Art From Goodreads

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