Book Review: A Witch in Time

Published February 11th 2020

Author: Constance Sayers

A young woman in Belle Epoque France is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist.

In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother — a witch — botches a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly binds Juliet to the artist through time, damning her to re-live her affair and die tragically young lifetime after lifetime as the star-crossed lovers reincarnate through history.

Luke Varner, the worldly demon tasked with maintaining this badly crafted curse, has been helplessly in love with his charge, in all her reincarnations, since 19th century France. He’s in love with Nora, a silver screen starlet in 1930s Hollywood. He’s in love with Sandra, a struggling musician in 1970s Los Angeles. And he’s in love with Helen, a magazine exec in present-day DC who has the power to “suggest” others do her bidding.

In this life, Helen starts to recall the curse and her tragic previous lives. But this time, she might have the power to break the cycle…

Find It On: Goodreads / Amazon

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A Witch in Time was recommended to me a few times. Although multiple readers have compared this to The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, I have not read it yet, so I had no point of comparison. Considering this novel has the word ‘witch’ in its title, it was not as “witchy” as I expected. The story opens with Helen Lambert, a recent divorcee in her mid-30s that works as a journalist in Washington DC. When she goes out on a blind date, she meets Luke Varner. While she feels a sense of familiarity with Luke, she is shocked when he tells her that they have been acquainted in other lifetimes.

After the date, Helen ends up dreaming of herself as 16-year-old Juliet LaCompte, a French farm girl in 1895. She is set to marry Michael, who is the son of the farm owners, but she ends up in an affair with local artist, August Marchante. Juliet’s mom was a witch and invoked a curse in August and Juliet, which set into motion the two of them being forever tied together. Luke is the demon, Lucian Varnier, who is tasked with helping Juliet break the cycle. Thus begins the series of lifetimes of the curse, including 19-year-old Nora Wheeler, who was an aspiring actress in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 22-year-old Sandra Keane, who was a musician in the 1970s.

Each past life builds off the one before it in the big picture, which is a concept I enjoyed. The only problem is that the writing transport the reader directly into each past life. While it was nice to be immersed in each of them, I wish that there were more tie ins or other elements to help weave each together with the big picture. It reads disjointed as it is present/past/present/past/etc. and needed some transitions to connect them. I found myself so immersed in each past life where I forgot about the main story, which is great that those were written so well, but it does not help me to connect to the whole novel. Helen herself may be the same person in the three past lives yet there are differences where they could read as four separate characters.

After finishing the Fallen series, I could not help but see similarities as the characters are trapped in an endless love cycle where if the main protagonist doesn’t figure it out then she dies, and the cycle starts again. The difference with this story is, first, it is handled as a standalone, which I appreciated as it all can work in a single story, and second, Luke was not the original love interest as he was just the administrator for the curse. This story was a lot better, although it was difficult to move past the initial pedophilia. It is dealt with somewhat, but it, along with other traumas, needed a little bit more care. There were tons of potential in this novel, and I absolutely loved it more than Fallen, but I think it just needed a little more cohesion between the present and past along with more care given to its sensitive topics. The writing style itself, the overall concept, plus a lot of smaller elements helped make this an enjoyable read and curious to read more from the author.  

4 thoughts on “Book Review: A Witch in Time

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