THE TIME TRAVEL JOURNALS: SHIPBUILDER by Marlene Dotterer is a masterful combination of Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Romance set mostly in early 20th-century Belfast, Ireland.
The story starts with Sam, a 60 year-old physicist making one last attempt at proving that he and his team had been able to send objects back in time in order to secure the project’s funding. Just as he turned on his time travel apparatus, Casey, a postgraduate student enters the field and they are both sent back a 100 years to Belfast in 1906, two years before the orders to build the Titanic.
The characters, early 20th-century culture, religious conflict, and Belfast came to life on the pages of Dotterer’s book. For me, there was just the right balance between putting the reader in Belfast and feeling the events through the main character’s eyes. Although there were some expository scenes where Sam explains a technical or cultural detail unfamiliar to Casey, those scenes do move the story and character forward and did not slow down the pace of the story.
Ever since I read “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” I’ve loved time travel novels—so much so that I will look past smoke and mirrors to enjoy a good story. I am happy to report, that not only is SHIPBUILDER a very good story, but this is one of the few books that handle the issues surrounding time travel intelligently and plausibly. Since the time travel aspect is part of the story, and not just an enabler, this is especially important. I could see that Dotterer put as much thought and research into time travel as she did for the Titanic, Belfast, and Irish culture.
I am looking forward to BRIDGEBUILDERS, the second book in THE TIME TRAVEL JOURNALS.
Note: I had originally purchased the ebook at B&N. This review is based on that edition. The author gave me a coupon so that I could place my review here.
(reviewed the day of purchase)