Time travel novels are relatively rare. It’s too easy to get caught up in a knot of grandfather paradoxes and endless self-referential loops. Plus Doctor Who has pretty much sewn up the market. Time travel stories work best when the stories told are small, and personal. That’s what E J Swift gives us with Paris, Adrift (review copy from Rebellion).
Hallie is a teenager escaping from a difficult family home by putting off university, travelling to Paris and working in a bar. Nudged towards a bar called Millie’s by a mysterious stranger, she finds a new family in the transient community of Paris bar staff. She also finds an anomaly in the keg room beneath the bar that enables her to travel through time. Unbeknownst to Hallie, she’s been selected as the person most likely to be able to avert a dystopian, apocalyptic future by making small changes to the course of events.
Hallie’s story is a coming of age tale. She grows in confidence and maturity as she comes to terms with her challenging family upbringing. It’s a love song to that time in our life when we first move away from home and discover self-reliance. Hallie has the chance to reinvent herself in Paris, connecting with a diverse group of likeable people, both in her contemporary Paris, and the city throughout time.
The world-building has a pleasing sense of mystery, with the anomaly left unexplained, and the plot moves along swiftly. Paris, Adrift is an enjoyable story told with pace and skill.
Goodreads rating: 3*