Book Review: Forever Layla by Melissa Turner Lee

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Title: Forever Layla
Author: Melissa Turner Lee
Publisher: AltWit Press
Release date: May 27, 2014

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Forever LaylaForever Layla
Melissa Turner Lee
AltWit Press, May 2014
ISBN 9780615984452
Trade Paperback


From the publisher—

What if the woman you envied most is the person you are destined to become?

In 1994, high school senior David Foster was the lackey and soundboard geek for his best friend’s grunge band. During spring break, the band lands a dream gig playing at a motel in Myrtle Beach, SC. David expected all the girls to ogle the guys on stage, but when a beautiful blond “Bond Girl” approaches him and calls him by name, he’s shocked to find out she knows more about him than a stranger should.

She even knows about his notebooks and his visions of time travel.

What she thought was a quick time-travel-sightseeing trip takes a surprising turn when she meets the young adult version of the man she’d heard stories about as a child. His fairy-tale romance with the woman he’d loved, Layla, inspired her to accept nothing less than a love just as strong…but hopefully not as tragic. When she won’t tell the younger version of him her name, he calls her Layla–and the world as she knows it changes forever.

 

Time travel fiction is tricky to read and must be even trickier to write. There are certain parameters that have been almost set in concrete for years and years, such as the idea that one must never meet oneself, but a few stalwart souls have ignored this in recent times. Most notable right now is the TV show, Continuum, which just happens to be one of my must-see shows these days and which mostly handles the problem by having multiple timelines. Melissa Turner Lee has also  chosen to not let it be a concern in Forever Layla and, while I did enjoy this very entertaining read, I don’t think the concept works quite as well here as it does in Continuum because Layla does indeed meet herself and changes what happens.

The other thing that I didn’t quite understand is why, when she suddenly finds herself in 1994, Layla can’t seem to keep her mouth shut. Surely a time traveler would be more prepared to cope with the immediate need to fit in, wouldn’t she? Instead, Layla babbles.

All that aside, there were things I enjoyed very much about this novel, not least of which are the characters. David is thoroughly likeable (although I did find his maturity to be a bit unlikely) and Layla appealed to me a lot, especially her motivation for making this trip back in time. I’m not generally a fan of insta-love but it actually works pretty well in this case, maybe because she already has such a strong attachment to him.

One other thing I especially enjoyed was Ms. Lee’s writing style and her attention to detail. The intertwining present and future could be confusing at times but the author always seemed to bring it together before things got too convoluted. I was also very grateful for her use of past tense and the alternating points of view. I wonder what Ms. Lee will have for us next  🙂

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2014.

About the Author

 

Melissa Turner LeeMelissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.


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