And I think I was set up by the mention of Claire in Andrew’s section at the beginning — I thought she would end up with Andrew somehow. Alex: True, I think she’s more shallow that she cares to admit. Alex: Because we’re in the same position as the Victorian masses. (And I credit myself with so much, clearly…) Laurie: I keep asking myself how I could have been so gullible, but, of course, I set myself up for it. Stacy: Even the part in the letter where she’s saying “I looked for the scar but was so nervous I couldn’t find it!

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Palma and had many thoughts—more than a few of them about the more, er, Harlequin-esque aspects of this bit (or maybe that’s just Alex! Laurie: But I just couldn’t see the two of them together in the end. Stacy: Confession: I still think she’ll end up with him somehow. Laurie: They were both quite shallow about the whole “love” end of things. Alex: My BF did tell me when I was complaining about lack of sex: “You do know you’re reading the wrong kind of book? Stacy: Well, “time machine…” Alex: I think for me, I like that we had to buy into the time machine thing. Stacy: I think he hasn’t done a bad job, but there were a times that I was like, “Wait—what about…? Alex: I thought he did a pretty good job keeping the threads together, which probably means Palma directed my attention where he wanted it.

Stacy: I don’t think someone’s circumstances should excuse their behaviour (in real life or in books), but his whole life was just the saddest thing. Palma can’t set her up as this smart, modern woman and then let her get taken in by this lie, can he? And he was drowning and then he seriously sniffed his way to her house? Alex: Maybe he just got excited about them getting it on? I think he’s actually been quite brilliant with the “threads.” I’d need a storyboard to keep it all straight. And I liked how we found out who the mysterious figure that Andrew saw in the night actually was! Which might be why I have a problem believing Tom could walk after the beating.

Alex: That installment was written just for me, wasn’t it?! Laurie: I have to admit, I didn’t quite buy into the whole thing. I’m totally a “suspend your disbelief” kind of girl. Stacy: Here, there was so much going on and so many threads to hang onto, and I think Palma lost a few of them. Laurie: And I felt it dragged: the whole surface of time/reed people thing seemed to go on too long, and I found the Cronotilus bit not so interesting, in terms of them walking around the ruins, in circles as it turned out. Stacy: They’re the common thread through everything so far… Stacy: My head is telling me one thing and my heart something else. Alex: Well, that’s not the only thing about it I loved… Stacy: I feel like I should have hated him for being such a player, but he was so tragic. And tricked Claire into loving him…I’ll forgive anything that ends in an embrace. I love how the sex scenes actually were a chance to show how emancipated Claire is. Stacy: Although after being beaten half to death and the almost-drowning, still not believable. Laurie: I loved when he said, “Thank you, Solomon” after almost drowning. Stacy: And then the other guy was like, “Um, this is a diving suit.” Something about that made me laugh. Compared to the pacing of Part 1, I think that’s what made it seem slightly less believable. It got a bit Romeo and Juliet all of a sudden there. And somehow, still wishing the time travel actually happened. But I do have an inkling it will involve fake time travel. Laurie: I still would like Claire and Andrew to get together, but that would leave Tom out in the cold. The narrator introducing it and saying “I won’t pry on what happens behind those doors.” I was livid! Stacy: Which made the fact that Tom couldn’t write his own letter that much more poignant, I thought. Alex: Which is weird because he’s really just a player, but I was completely manipulated by him, because he fell in love with her in the end. Stacy: But like Wells said to Murray — it has to be conceivable! Alex: I would only say this: Part 2 felt slightly rushed. Alex: I think that’s why I found myself questioning it, because the rest of the time I’d been prepared for it and subconsciously I felt things evolving at a pace that camouflaged less credible parts. Stacy: I am BITTER that there’s no time travel for real — maybe in Part 3 we find out it actually is possible? In the same way people of that day were blind to this, that and the other, we’re completely at his mercy. Alex: So, I LOVE it when stories are told through letters and I felt this was one of the most successful examples of this I’ve ever seen. Alex: The way each time a letter is begun, by the end it is in a different person’s hand. I thought it was an excellent way of sewing the characters that were embroiled in that plot together. Every time a letter is introduced by one person’s narrative, it is picked up by someone else. Stacy: And his keeping the flower, but giving the letters away! Laurie: It was quite clever in many ways, that continual change of perspective. Stacy: That Claire would ignore all the social mores of the time and sleep with him? I know, I think this book is demanding that of me from start to finish Not only that, SLK, but that she would delight in the pleasures of the flesh and be naked with him, which was unheard of even, and through her openness, Wells and his wife were in turn brought closer together physically and emotionally. Laurie: Not so much that Claire would ignore the social mores and sleep with him — he was hot, after all, and this is a fantasy – but let’s face it, in the long run, the guy could barely write. In fact, I’m finding all the “love” in this novel shallow. Laurie: Palma has been very clever, so far, wouldn’t you say? Like I’ve had the wool pulled over my eyes just like they did. Laurie: I keep thinking, though, two things: what will Claire do when she realizes that Tom’s writing is different than that on the letters and that he has no scar on his stomach? ” Alex: I loved how Wells and Murray were interlinked. Stacy: Those connections between parts 1 and 2 were my favourite, otherwise it would have felt too jarring. He only fell in love with her in some ways because he fell in love with the story. But the time travel stuff is fun and mind twisting, and it’s still all engaging. Alex: Well, there was NO time travel in the end, was there? Laurie: Now if it was sex on the time machine, we’d be talking! He’s totally pulled us in with his old sleight of hand. It makes it so much more believable because I was expecting it to be true. Stacy: I had a hard time believing that she would believe any of it. His face is all covered in blood and one minute he’s almost dead — and then they’re making out.