This Time of Year – Jea Hawkins

This Time of Year is both a prequel and a sequel to As Long As Love Lasts, one of my favourite audiobooks, the intertwined stories of Peyton and Brooke in the present day and of Marty and Vera (and Alberta the elephant) in the late thirties. In This Time of Year, Jea Hawkins takes up the dual timelines again, this time with Marty and Vera in the late sixties and Marty’s aunt Celia just before WWI.

This book doesn’t go as in-depth as the first one. It’s relatively short and can probably be read as a standalone, though I would advise against it. The author wrote it as a way to bring the story full circle and she succeeded. The focus is a lot more on the characters than on the events around them, which doesn’t mean Hawkins didn’t research the times and places well. Her depiction of pre-war Paris feels very close to what I’ve learned and read. I didn’t realise how much I had missed Marty and Vera until I found out about this book coming out and I enjoyed spending more time in their company, as more mature people – they were seventeen and eighteen at the beginning of As Long As Love Lasts, they’re in their late forties in This Time of Year – but still learning. Getting to know Celia and find out about her life as an American exile in Paris, both as a young woman and as someone in their seventies, was as fascinating to me as it was to them. My only regret is that I wish this book was a bit longer. It feels a little like the post-cancellation Sense8 movie when I was hoping for a whole new season. I would have loved more but I got closure and that, in itself, is precious.


This Time of Year @ amazon

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