[Review] The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest.

Summary: In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.

Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

Genre(s): Adult, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Representation: gay & bisexual primary characters, F/F relationships, Seychellois (Black) primary character, primary characters with depression/anxiety/bipolar disorder
Content warnings: mental health issues, self-harm, blood

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release date:
 February 12, 2019 
Book links*: Goodreads | Book Depository | IndieBound

*These include affiliate links, which means that if you click through and buy a book I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. [Full disclaimers here.]


3.5 stars

The premise is fascinating: time travel as a career and institution, run by women. And there’s fantastic diversity, with mental health/psychological concerns (the title doesn’t just sound cool! It actually represents a major concern in the novel), POC, explicitly gay/bisexual characters. Mascarenhas’ approach to laying out the murder mystery clearly respects the reader’s intelligence — we get to peek at scenes from various points of the timeline and through various characters’ eyes, and it’s up to you to put the pieces together if you don’t want to just sit around and wait for the Big Reveal; at the same time, there are lots of academic and ethical questions to consider. 

All that said, I had some trouble connecting with the characters and getting really invested in the plot, because this is a very concept-driven novel, which I don’t think I’ve actually encountered before. (I actually took a few days’ break from this book, during which I retained enough of the previous information to keep up but not enough to want to jump right back into it.) 

This is such a unique read, so if you’re even a little bit interested in sci-fi and mystery I’d give it a try.

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21 thoughts on “[Review] The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

  1. Thank you for your review, Isabelle! This is a book I have been eyeing because I love time travel but I for some reason had a gut feeling this one wouldn’t be for me. While I like the idea of women running the industry, I think it sounds like Here and Now and Then was a better fit for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like you get a lot of concept driven classics, like 1984, or Fahrenheit 451. I don’t really see it a lot in modern novels that much anymore, excepting The Handmaid’s Tale… so it is cool to know that is what happens here. But it is a bit of shame when you can’t really enjoy the characters or plot too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you’re right! classics, and a lot of high sci-fi (which I don’t read much of, I’m realizing now 😅) tend to be more concept-based; modern mainstream novels do tend to have more “commercial”/universal appeal with plot and characters … maybe I’ve gotten a little too used to it, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw this book and was super interested in it, however something told me to hold back on nabbing it. Mucho glad I did, cause this low key sounds like it would stay on my shelves for a hot minute, lol. Oof to the struggle of getting through this one Izzy, but here is to hoping your next one is a 10/10 would recommend and sell my first born for another copy type of book!

    Liked by 1 person

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