The Accidental Time Traveller by Sharon Griffiths
Life on Mars meets It’s a Wonderful Life in this inventive romantic comedy that looks at what we can learn from the past!
Journalist Rosie Hartford is having an odd day. Or one hell of a hangover…Having had a blazing row with her boyfriend – fellow journalist Will – she reluctantly sets off for her latest assignment: an interview with one of the residents of The Meadows, a grotty local estate about to become the set for a major reality TV show, The 1950s House. But stepping through the front door, Rosie finds herself in a different house – and transported back in time. Everything is grey and drab – the food, the clothes, the TV. It’s like the world is in permanent black and white. It’s not long before Rosie realises what’s going on. She’s obviously a contestant on the 1950s show! She’s pretty miffed she’s not been given warning, but she might as well give it a go – after all, the cameras are always watching and the first rule of reality TV is always keep smiling! But what really sends Rosie into a spin is the fact that Will is there too – but here he is known as Billy and has been married since he was 16 to Rosie’s best friend.In the 1950s, Will/Billy is a family man and devoted father, a side to him that Rosie finds hard to imagine.
He grows vegetables, repairs shoes and even has a shed. He is, in fact, a grown up. The truth slowly dawns on Rosie that this is reality, not reality TV. After she gets over the shock, she begins to embrace daily life 1950s-style. Gone are the excessive consumerism, drifting relationships and cheap thrills of the Noughties. In its place is make do and mend, commitment, duty and honour. Together Rosie and Billy make a great team, covering dramatic local stories, and inevitably growing closer until Rosie falls in love with Will/Billy all over again. But now he has a wife and kids and is out of bounds… Unless she can get back to 2008!
I don’t often read chick-lit, but this one kind of sparkles in the same way that a good rom-com film does. Yes, it’s light and a little fluffy, but it’s funny and sweet and sometimes serious too. I was surprised at how believable the whole thing was, despite the “time slip” element of the plot – it all slotted together very nicely. The characters were likeable and familiar, the situations were realistic and the developing relationships were wonderful to read.
It’s a lighthearted look at how a modern woman copes when plunged into a time when all mod cons are missing and she has to make do with what’s available, learning new skills and discovering that she’s capable of far more than she ever imagined.
As a bonus, there’s a “which decade should you live in?” quiz at the back (incidentally, it turns out I’d be right at home in the fifties!).
Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite