Grace A. Johnson
Review: When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer
Warnings: #1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You’ll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which may mean some spoilers, so watch out.
Synopsis: Libby is a rare woman, a time-crosser who lives two separate lives in two separate eras. When her life in 1914 takes a turn for the worst, Libby searches for a way to survive until she can forfeit that path for her life in 1774...but destiny has other plans.
What I Loved: My fingers are crossed that this section is longer than I think it’ll be… First off, the concept of this is so epic. I typically dislike dual/split-time novels because neither time is fully fleshed out, the characters fall flat, and I end up picking sides (and it’s almost always the historical side I like best)...so when I saw that this was a dualtime novel about the SAME GIRL in two historical timelines, I was sold. The idea of time-crossers is so deliciously speculative, and I honestly wanted more of that aspect (not that Libby didn’t cross time a lot, because she did every day, but just more depth to it and exploration of the concept).
I absolutely loved how I didn’t have to get to know four different characters or cringe over two separate barely developed romances, so that was a huge plus!
The prose was well-done and Libby’s voice came through clearly, although there was nothing necessarily unique or distinct about either…
Character-wise, I adored Mama and all her good advice! Even though I didn’t always agree with her 20th century ideals, she brought a gracious perspective to the Revolutionary War that I so appreciated! (Everyone sees the British as heartless monsters, but Mama always saw them as humans who fought for what they believed in, and she kept Libby grounded through it all!)Henry was lovely…but I felt like he was one of those just-here-to-fall-in-love-with-the-heroine kinda guys, which was depressing, because he had potential, it just wasn’t tapped into. *sighs*
And then there’s Reggie. Unpopular opinion here, but I loved him. My heart broke for the poor guy who just needed love and guidance! I feel like the author herself wrote a realistic and redeemable unwanted husband character—even though Libby never saw him in that light—and I really appreciated that! So many times the unwanted suitor/arranged husband is either never seen but always hated or is a total jerk face...but not Reggie. Sure, he made mistakes, but he also sought forgiveness and help to overcome his struggles. *sniffs* Still so sad over what happened to him.
What I Didn’t Love: Libby. I think my entire experience with this book could be summed up in “I hated Libby.” And y’all know it’s bad when I loved the abusive husband but hated the “perfect” heroine.
Part of the reason why I didn’t like Libby can be blamed on my general disdain for heroines and my anti-feminist ideals. The other part, though, is simply how she was written. Believe it or not, Libby also had potential for an amazing arc and character—but she didn’t make it there. Although there were themes of being pro-life, making sacrifices for those you love, and trusting God’s plan, these themes (which were wonderful) never actually had an impact on Libby. Her character never grew or changed, even despite all the things she went through and learned. Not to mention she didn’t really love people unless they loved her back and benefited her, y’know? Had she actually had a character arc and experienced some growth, I would’ve actually found myself liking her...but alas.
And y’all know how I feel about the arranged marriage deal, so I’m not even gonna go there today. On that note, though, I have serious problems with the moral issues of being married in one timeline and kissing another bloke in a different timeline...not cool, man. Sure, it’s not the same body, but it is the same mind, so I count it as adultery, which should NEVER under any circumstances be glorified or deemed “romantic.” Ever.
On a less rantish note...as interesting as the concept is, the plot felt very cliché and predictable to me. Which is crazy, because I know a lot of readers have been wildly surprised by this book, but I saw it all coming—except the ending. That was the only surprise, and I wanted so much more of that! I think the story itself could’ve really excelled if the plot had been shifted a little bit to include more of Libby’s time in 1917 Baltimore and less of her whining about her life in the beginning.
Long Story Short: When the Day Comes has the backbone of a great novel—intriguing concept and premise, lovely side characters, beautiful themes—but it fell flat in many ways. Naturally, some of that had to do with my personal preference...but a lot of it could’ve easily been rectified! I think the story would’ve flowed better and the characters (and the romance) could’ve gotten more development had the focus been shifted—less of the beginning and more of the ending, you could say! And had Libby’s character been given a viable arc and some spiritual growth, I would’ve actually grown to love her!
As it is, I probably wouldn’t recommend this novel to a reader like me, but one I know enjoys feminist heroines and isn’t as critical as I am, maybe so! There are readers who have enjoyed this book immensely, so as usual, it’s probably just me. *shrugs* I might give Gabrielle Meyer’s work another try, but we’ll see!
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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about the author
Gabrielle Meyer grew up above a carriage house on a historic estate near the banks of the Mississippi River, imagining real and make-believe stories about the occupants who had lived there. She went on to work for the Minnesota Historical Society and loves writing fiction inspired by real people, places, and events. She currently resides in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River, not far from where she grew up, with her husband and four children. By day, she’s a busy homeschool mom, and by night she pens fiction and non-fiction filled with hope. Learn more about Gabrielle and her writing by visiting www.gabriellemeyer.com.
yours in spirit and script,
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