A Time to Remember is a dramatic historical romance with endearing characters.
Jan Hendrix’s engaging romance A Time to Remember follows star-crossed lovers as they navigate a postwar world, separated by society but always thinking of each other.
Mark is young, Jewish, and from New York. While serving in World War II, he meets Lauren, a beautiful German girl. They fall deeply in love, but their warring cultures present too much of a challenge for Lauren, who breaks up with Mark the day he goes back to America. Mark takes over his father’s construction business; Lauren becomes a famous photojournalist. The abrupt end of their relationship leaves a void that neither can fill, and Mark vows to find the love of his life again, no matter the cost.
Mark and Lauren are likable leads. Their ethics are strong, and their everyday struggles are familiar. Mark’s history and family relationships are emotionally developed, showcasing the struggle between social expectations and personal desires. Mark deals with PTSD realistically; it creeps into his life at different times, leading to a variety of coping methods that add dimension to his personality.
Mark and his construction-worker friends come to represent salt-of-the-earth, hardworking Americans, exemplifying the camaraderie and loyalty of laborers. Exploration of family dynamics adds depth to the text, as do the workers’ unique speech habits, which help conversations sound natural. Dialogue often becomes philosophical, but is kept down-to-earth and accessible by characters’ informal diction and a generally accessible writing style.
At first, Lauren is captivating, even heroic, but as the plot progresses she slips into a predictable gender role. Her story reinforces themes of warfare trauma, though it is less developed than Mark’s story, and the characters around her are also less full-bodied.
The story switches between Mark and Lauren’s perspectives, moving across more than a decade of their lives apart. At times, Mark’s story is too meandering, full of authentic but tedious technical information about construction work. Narrative tension comes from the couple’s love story and the possibility that they will be reunited, even if the resolution of their story line does not end up being fully satisfying. Their later actions and decisions are explained, but feel out of character, and questions remain. Settings around the world are captured with attentive details, and historical information is helpfully incorporated.
Moments of emotional sensitivity add a sense of intimacy to A Time to Remember, a dramatic romance with endearing characters.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.