10 May 2014

Book Review: If I Could Turn Back Time by Nicola Doherty

"What if you found The One, then lost him again?

Or not so much lost him as became the neurotic, needy girlfriend from hell. The girl who tried to make him choose between her and his job, and got seriously paranoid about his relationship with his female best friend..

Zoƫ Kennedy knows she doesn't deserve another chance with David Fitzgerald. But if there's the tiniest possibility of making things right, she'll snatch it. Even if it means breaking the laws of physics to do so..."

Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy If I Could Turn Back Time as an eBook or a paperback now!

I read Nicola Doherty's debut novel a few years ago now, and really enjoyed it. When I was invited to be part of the blog tour for the paperback release of her new book If I Could Turn Back Time, I jumped at the chance because the book sounded brilliant! I was curious about this, I have to admit, because I don't usually like books with a magical element to them - I prefer something more realistic, but having read nothing but good things about this book, I was determined to bear with it and give it a go! I'm so pleased I did because it was a joy to read, and I really loved it.

Zoe Kennedy is heartbroken when her relationship with long term boyfriend David ends. She's left working at her job in a department store, sure she is going to get nowhere in her job because her boss doesn't like her, and that she will end up regretting losing David. But whilst preparing for Christmas at the store, Zoe encounters an old lady who tells her that the window displays are magic. Zoe takes it with a pinch of salt, but when she wakes up in the middle of summer, and still with David, she's sure that something magical has happened for sure. With a second chance at love, will Zoe be able to right the wrongs she had with David before, and find her happy ever after?

When the book began, I really liked Zoe. She seemed like your normal girl, trying to get over a relationship, and generally wondering about the direction her life was going in. It was all fairly normal, and I liked that. But suddenly, she wakes up about 5 months before where the book started, with there being no real explanation of how she got there. In fact, nothing about that is really ever revealed, and as someone who likes things tied up neatly for me in a book, this didn't sit too well with me! However, this is probably the only thing I didn't like in the book, so it's something I can look past if I don't dwell on it too much! Zoe, as I said, was a great character, and although there were a few times she was a bit arrogant about her situation and how she used it, I generally liked her and hoped she would be happy in the end as she deserved to be. Zoe's job at the department story was very well written too, from the designer name-dropping to descriptions of clothes, and her colleagues too, it was a enjoyable part of the book.

There were quite a few characters in this book. There's David, who is a well-respected surgeon, and you can see why Zoe would struggle with the commitments of his job. There's his parents who we meet briefly, and his best friend, the hideous Jenny. Doherty writes that character for the simple reason of being someone to hate in the book, and goodness me did I hate her! Her new flatmate Max is a great character too, a bit of a strange guy but seemed like such a nice guy! All of these characters were so well written, jumping out of the page at me, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them being part of the story. We learn lots about Zoe's relationship with all these characters, but especially David, and I was hoping that Zoe would realise she didn't have to change to be with David, he should love her just as she was, no matter what anyone thought.

Zoe uses some of her knowledge from her time-travelling to get ahead in her life in parts, and while I didn't especially like these bits as I didn't think it would all end well for Zoe, it does make for some funny circumstances! The time travel bit as I said did seem a bit odd and unexplained, but that's part of the fun of the book. I read another book along the same vein last year by Ali McNamara and I have to say that I enjoyed this one a lot more, it was incredibly well written and enjoyable to read. You really get invested in the character of Zoe and her finding happiness in the end, along with things that happen along the way too. Yes, the ending felt a bit hurried and strange to me, but it didn't detract too much from my enjoyment of the book as a whole. Doherty has written a brilliant book here, and it makes me very excited to read more by this author!


  1. Great review, I have this and am looking forward to reading it! X

  2. I'm intrigued by this book, but like you I'm often put off by 'magic' as I prefer more realistic stories. However, I think I might give it a try!