Haven't read any Stephen King in years, so didn't really know what to expect from this, but thought it was an interesting idea.
I LOVED IT!! - WARNING: PROBABLY GOING TO BE A FEW SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON...
Everything about the book was brilliant. It was well paced, the characters were many and varied, with some wonderful creations in Deke and Miz Mimi, and the central love story was so good. The pace builds towards the end, and there's enough to keep you guessing as to whether Jake will indeed change the course of history, and what the consequences will be if he does so.
Am very sad to leave these characters and this world behind, but I'm sure I'll read this one again, even knowing the outcome, it was so good.
Jake Epping is a teacher in 2011. His friend shows him a rabbit-hole into the past, 1958, and between them they devise a plan to save the life of JFK. The beauty of the novel is not really in this main plot line though, it is the building story as the years lived in the past from 1958 into 1963 see Jake cross paths with a variety of interesting, sometimes evil characters. He prevents the mass murder of Harry Dunning‘s family, a man from 2011 who witnessed his father murder his whole family when he was a child. Upon accomplishing this, Jake resolves to go ahead and, when he’s completely convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole shooter on that fateful day, stop him by any means necessary, including killing Oswald.
Along the way Jake meets Sadie, a school librarian with an abusive ex-husband. As the two fall in love the complexities of Jake’s life in the modern day are too much to share with her, and the two part. Even then, Jake is still worried. He comes to learn that the past harmonises, and there is much similarities between Sadie and Doris Dunning, Harry‘s mother, to the point that he warns their friends and Sadie herself to watch out for the husband.
The tragic consequences of taking his warnings too lightly come when the husband returns and attacks Sadie, brutally slashing her face with a knife before slitting his own throat. Doctors are able to help to some extent, but as one tells her, 30 years in the future they would have been able to help her more.
Of course, Jake decides to take Sadie with him once he’s stopped Oswald and goes home.
Fate has other ideas though, and in the end Sadie goes with Jake to stop Oswald and is shot dead.
But, each trip through the rabbit-hole is a reset, or so Jake thinks, so he wants to bring her back to life, only it’s not a total reset at all, its another time string, as the mysterious yellow card man tells Jake, and too many strings will cause reality to shatter altogether.
And so Jake is left with the awful choice - the woman he loves, or the whole of reality.
It’s very sad, but the conclusion is also very satisfying. I loved this book so much. The minor characters are great, including Deke and Miz Mimi, who work with Jake.
Absolutely marvellous. I can’t believe it’s over, but I’ll probably be reading this one again.