• The Good: Sweet, small-town, time travel fantasy romance
  • The Bad: Idealizes tradition, family, and rural life
  • The Literary: An interesting mix of romance, mystery, and a complicated time travel plot

June Farrow’s family traces its roots back hundreds of years in the small mountain town of Jasper, North Carolina, where they tend their flower farm. But a curse follows the Farrow women, who all go mad and eventually disappear. June’s own mother disappeared when June was young, and now, after her grandmother’s death, June acknowledges that she’s been seeing and hearing things that aren’t there.

I like the mysterious centuries-old curse, June’s mother’s disappearance, and the red door that appears out of nowhere. June is scared, but she’s also a determined protagonist, ready to end the curse once and for all. Even though she’s been friends with Mason since childhood, she refuses to let her affection turn deeper, because she’s sworn off finding love and having children.

After her grandmother’s death, June receives a letter and several cryptic clues regarding her mother’s decades-old disappearance, and she resolves to walk through the red door. Spoiler alert—June travels back in time. It’s not much of a spoiler; the time travel is what makes this a sci-fi/fantasy genre story. I love the cleverness of the wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff. Young sets up the rules of the time travel magic, then manages to craft several twists and revelations, giving a sense of satisfying interconnectedness for the Farrow family.

The other thing that stands out to me is the strong sense of the setting. June lives just outside of a small town on a farm, where family history is important to identity, and the prose paints a very romantic pastoral picture, both in present-day and especially in the 1950s. There’s a small mention at the conclusion calling out several side characters as being black, in the hopes of acknowledging the black community in the south in the mid-twentieth century. I’m glad Young did this, because one of my major critiques is just how small-town Caucasian this feels.

With that said, I appreciate the juxtaposition of a sleepy rural atmosphere with a family mystery and time travel. June is a sweet, soft, and simple young lady, with all odds against her, so you want her to succeed, even if all she wants out of life is to continue the family tradition, get married, and have babies.

Recommended for fans of quiet small towns and the smell of biscuits baking in the kitchen and tobacco fields out of the window.