The Nostalgia Effect is a very unique and interesting book. It contains elements of romance, psychological drama, and speculative literature, and offers some intriguing dilemmas to ponder. The protagonist, Jennifer, wakes up in what appears to be eight years in the past. However, there are differences from the past she remembers. She’s still married to her first husband and her father is married to a woman she doesn’t recognize.
She has no idea what happened, and wonders which life is the real one and which must be some sort of delusion. The author, E.J. Valson, does a fine job of keeping the reader guessing whether there is a psychological issue at play or some bizarre merging of parallel lives and time threads. Either way, Jennifer has to learn to navigate a life that seems similar to her own, but isn't quite it.
What I felt was unaddressed – if the scenario truly was one where Jennifer was in the wrong life thread for whatever reason – was what happened to the Jennifer of the thread that our Jennifer suddenly appears in. Our protagonist never seems to worry about what might have happened to her counterpart or what the effect of her appearance in the present reality will be. She and those assisting her seem to think that all will just suddenly stop and not exist anymore once she's returned to her own reality. It’s strange enough that she would be ok with that, but those who help her out must be extraordinarily noble. Since no one really knows the hows and whys of what happened, one would think that some of them might be a little uneasy. But they're not. The concern is for her and getting her where she needs to be safely, and the reader has no sense of what they think about this and whether they ever wonder what it means for them.
It was quite a good story in any case and very unlike any book that I’ve read lately. Ms Valson has done an excellent job with her first novel, and I’m happy to recommend it.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)