Judith D Collins
If I Could Turn Back Time
By: Beth Harbison
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 7/28/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars Thirty-seven year old Ramie Phillips has led a very successful life. She made her fortune and now she hob nobs with the very rich and occasionally the semi-famous, and she enjoys luxuries she only dreamed of as a middle-class kid growing up in Potomac, Maryland. But despite it all, she can't ignore the fact that she isn't necessarily happy. In fact, lately Ramie has begun to feel more than a little empty. On a boat with friends off the Florida coast, she tries to fight her feelings of discontent with steel will and hard liquor. No one even notices as she gets up and goes to the diving board and dives off... Suddenly Ramie is waking up, straining to understand a voice calling in the distance...It's her mother: "Wake up! You're going to be late for school again. I'm not writing a note this time..." Ramie finds herself back on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, with a second chance to see the people she's lost and change the choices she regrets. How did she get back here? Has she gone off the deep end? Is she really back in time? Above all, she'll have to answer the question that no one else can: What it is that she really wants from the past, and for her future?
June 14, 2016
Told with Beth Harbison's wit and warmth, If I Could Turn Back Time is the fantasy of every woman who has ever thought, "If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I'd do things so differently..."
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Beth Harbison delivers a poignant and witty story of a woman’s journey back to the past, IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME, coming in paperback June 14, 2016 (with a new 83/18 cupcakes adorable cover). Readers will go back to revisit their younger years, for a thought- provoking look at the people in our lives, choices, and questions, of what if. “Sometimes – some rare times—when a soul has left in its own time, it leaves a love one wholly unprepared. Missing some of the most important lessons that were meant to be shared.” “Can a soul find it’ way back to communicate in a less subtle way? To remind their loved one of those things they must know in order to find their own fate." The night before Ramie Phillips; thirty-eighth birthday, she is on a boat (yacht) off the coast of Miami, Florida-- like something you would see on the cover of Conde’ Nast Traveler or other luxury magazine. She did not grow up rich, In her youth she enjoyed a happy Charlie Brown landscaped middle class life in Potomac, Maryland, close to the DC border. She grew up loving math and her dad was a banker. When she was five her dad taught her about the stock market and how to track a portfolio. He taught her how to invest. Thanks to her dad, she had a nice little nest egg for herself before she hit it big working with Whitestone, one of the top private equity investment firms in the country. A daddy’s girl, her Dad died unexpectedly halfway through her college education. He smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, then a stroke. She thought he would be around forever and in her life. He was to be a grand dad. Her mom had always feared his upcoming death. Her mom had a hard time; however, Ramie came through for her investing her life insurance so she could live off the dividends. Skip to the boating event, as the book opens, with champagne, cocktails, friends and a little too much to drink. Her friend just found out she is pregnant. Here she is, close to forty years old and now she is feeling sorry for herself. Her big birthday bash, had been overshadowed by toasts and congratulations for Lisa’s unexpected pregnancy. What happened in her life from ages eighteen to thirty-eight? She knows she is feeling like a baby. Beings selfish. Could she have known her previous partner in crime (herself) might feel a little weird about being ambushed by the news of her total acquiescence to domestication. She knew her friend would never be fun anymore. She tells her she is happy and begins to dwell on her situation. She has a nice life and career, but no personal life. She is not happy. She had been left behind. She had made mistakes. Soon she dives off the boat and all she remembers is pain, and everything going black. She wakes up in her childhood room. Dream or not, this was a moment in her life where she would get a second chance, with someone she had loved and lost. However, she is trying to talk about things in the future and her dad is of course still alive. Her mom thinks she is getting ready to go to school. Now she finds herself back in time to the eve of her eighteenth birthday. Will she be able to change her decisions, and get what she wants from the past for her future? Harbison always combines wit, emotion, and some tough life lessons. We all wish we could have a redo; and regret many things in our past, and questions of "what if" we had made a different decision, or choices back when,--- how would my life be different today. A journey of a thirty-eight year-old woman with her insight into the future and in her current role as age eighteen. Thought-provoking! Makes you take a step back and appreciate those in your life. For fans of In Twenty Years and The Year We Turned Forty as well as time traveling. I am normally not a fan of time travel; however this one was done really well. For all you wondering why I am just now reviewing this book. I read it last year, and realized when reading an advanced reading copy of her upcoming new book, One Less Problem Without You, (great read), Coming July 26, 2016, was referring back to link to the review, and discovered I failed to write the review. (my bad)! Quickly did a recap, since still on my Kindle, and even purchased the audiobook, narrated by Orlagh Cassidy for a fun time-travel trip. Guess my review, will be “timely for the paperback”, coming June. I do not read as much chick-lit, as I did in my younger years; however, always enjoy Harbison’s books. She was initially the one to turn me on to the genre with her funny audiobooks. Always tons of fun, wit, and humor-and much more than fluff –there is depth, life, emotions, and so much more! On a different note: Would like to take this opportunity to highlight St. Martin’s Press and compliment the team on all the beautiful covers! The Beth Harbison name is branded by her covers, and each and every one pulls you in to her character’s world. They are perfect. A cover can make, or break a book in my opinion, and all St. Martin’s Press’ covers are first-class- one of my favorite publishers.
Coming July 26, 2016
Be sure and move, One Less Problem Without You to the top of your list! (just finished it and "promise" to write my review before Tues. pub date).
You will love the Cosmo chic cover, the three gals whose lives connect, a bad guy, teas, and "Diana’s Drinks" with 30-yummy cocktail recipes at the end of the book. Need I say more?
On a personal note: I think I was meant to go back and re-read this book. Makes you think of your parents. This week received the news my mom (some of you know she has battled cancer for 3 ½ yrs.) -now her body is shutting down, with less than a few months left to live. All of her many friends are saying their goodbyes, and I will be returning home, within the next couple of weeks, from South Florida to NC to spend some time with her and the family. This will be a difficult time- and not sure what lies ahead, as my dad depends on her for everything (they just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary), and his health is poor as well. This is when we all want "more time", and regrets for all the time we have wasted. As she mentioned this week, even though she has known she has stage IV cancer for years, she kept thinking she was going to beat it, and she would have "more time." Now there is none. This book brought back some special memories and times with my mom, as a teen.
About the Author
Beth Harbison was born in the shadow of Washington, DC and grew up in the suburbs of that city. She began writing in 4th grade at St. Bartholomew's school, where she re-wrote the ending of BLACK BEAUTY, bringing all of the horses back to live in 64 handwritten pages. At that time it should have occurred to someone that she should be writing fiction or soap operas, but instead her first job was at Roy Rogers.
After failing out of seventh grade, she was sent to a school for rotten kids in Potomac, Maryland, where she met some of her best friends and had experiences she has drawn on again and again in her work.
Her publishing career began with cookbooks, then moved to Silhouette romance novels, before Jennifer Enderlin, of St. Martin's Press, plucked her out of obscurity and tapped her to write SHOE ADDICTS ANONYMOUS, which put her on the New York Times bestseller list for the first time and has been optioned by Galgos Entertainment as a feature film starring Halle Berry.
Today, Beth writes from her home in the DC suburbs, where she lives with her son, and her daughter, YA author Paige Harbison. Website Twitter