Formats available: ebook, paperback
Genre: Science fiction romance
Length: 236 pages
Publisher: Parvati Press
Date Released: January 29, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
What worlds would you move to be with your soulmate?
Painter Tessa Barnum is struggling. Her husband left, she’s broke, about to be evicted and has made some serious missteps in her career.
When scruffy Brian Tennyson explodes into her life, claiming to be from an alternate universe, Tessa thinks he’s a crazy vagabond – albeit one with mysterious and undeniable appeal.
Then he informs her that in his world, they’re married.
Tessa’s universe is turned upside down as the truth of love and loss, victory and humiliation, and second chances comes back to her. She has to choose love over logic to reach that state of anticipation where miracles unfold.
The secret to her own life was always in her heart.
Somewhere in the multi-verse, Schrödinger’s Cat is alive. And so is Dr. Brian Tennyson’s wife.
Tessa Barnum simply went down what Terry Pratchett calls the “other leg of the trousers of time” and didn’t become his wife. She also didn’t die of cancer. Brian spends much too much of his time, his money, and his genius inventing a machine that can solve all the quantum theory paradoxes involved in traveling from one parallel universe to another. Just a visit. So he can say “goodbye”.
The Tessa Barnum in our universe is a hot mess on her best days. And there haven’t been too many of those recently. Three years worth of recently, in fact. She’s a painter. Or she would be, if she hadn’t dropped out of the art world in the middle of a scandal. She’s also divorced from a man she clearly didn’t love, but can’t seem to move past.
And she’s been avoiding the real world so steadfastly that she hasn’t kept up the payments on her New York City co-op. She’s facing eviction.
Brian, the other world Brian, drops into her life at her lowest ebb. He brings with him an intensity that has been missing from her life since she chose to follow the soul-sucker who would become her husband to Columbia instead of going to Yale. The Yale where she would have met Brian.
Brian also brings hints of the woman she might have been. The open and carefree spirit that his Tessa was. The woman who chose a concert cello career instead of painting, and it turns out forging, art. The woman who took care of herself more instead of burying herself in other people. She catches a bit of that other Tessa’s joie de vivre. And remembers that it was part of how she used to be, even as she continues to reject that Brian is who he says he is.
Until Brian drags her to a physics lecture, given by her universe’s version of Brian Tennyson. And she gets a glimmer that she might be able to have part of the life she catches in Brian’s eyes. Even as he lets her go.
Escape Rating B+: This is a classic case of not judging a book by its cover. The cover does not represent the story at all. There are a couple of sweet, hot, romantically charged sex scenes, but the cover implies something else.
The story is about the incredible power of love to move, not just mountains, but actual universes, and that it is absolutely never too late for a second chance. Not even if you have to employ quantum mechanics to kick your own self in the teeth.
The many universes interpretation is a known concept in physics, it is the one which includes poor Schrödinger’s Cat. That part is not a joke. The uses it is put to in fiction, especially science fiction, are legion and vastly entertaining. The Doctor Who episode Turn Left and the Star Trek Next Gen episode Yesterday’s Enterprise are both excellent uses of this device.
What made The Love of My (Other) Life especially good was that there was no deus ex machina that allowed the other Brian to stay, or allowed him to take Tessa back to his parallel world. He kept complaining that she was doing things differently from his Tessa, and she had to beat it into his head that she wasn’t his Tessa. Her choices had been different and had made her a different person. The other Tessa had things to teach her, but they were different people. The Tessa of this world changed for the better, but she did not become the other Tessa.
Brian got closure. He doesn’t get to have the doppelgänger of his dreams, and he doesn’t get a do-over with his Tessa. He gets to say “goodbye” and make his peace. Giving the Brian of this world a chance at the same happiness he had experienced with this Tessa was a nice gift, but he went back to deal with his grief.
So don’t judge this book by its cover. Make yourself a gift of this lovely and sweetly goofy second-chance romance.