I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
During World War II, Tom and Ben were brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar. The two had to kept their growing love for one another secret. When the project they were assigned to went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished and were never seen again, presumed to be dead. Now they are lost in time, searching for one another by leaving clues in books - hoping to make their timelines overlap in order to be together again.
I'm a sucker for a good time travel story and Time Was by Ian McDonald sounded exactly like the novella for me. Unfortunately, after I completed the story I felt like I'd been duped because the story is described as a WWII time travel love story, but really it's about pretentious book-loving historian who happens to find some of Ben and Tom's correspondences and begins to put their story together. We do get a handful of short POV chapters from our time travelers perspectives but not nearly enough to really care about their story at all, no matter how much I wanted to become hooked. Plus, I hate to say it, but Tom and Ben were actually on the dull side.
Overall, I love the idea of Time Was, but I was underwhelmed by the execution. The storytelling begins to get more disjointed and disconnected the further you go along and we don't get nearly enough time with the cast to become invested in their stories. I think I would have preferred to have followed Ben and Tom's storylines directly without the historian framing their tale. Unfortunately, Ian McDonald's newest release just wasn't for me although there's plenty of potential.
Thanks anyway, NetGalley.
I read this novella on April 18, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads. Time Was by Ian McDonald will be released on April 24th, 2018.