Welcome to the month-long mega tour for Charlie Laidlaw's newest book, The Space
Between Time, due for release on June 20th! There will be fantastic bloggers participating, who will be posting interviews, excerpts, reviews, and other exclusive content!
Check out below for my review as well as an excerpt and a link to a giveaway!
The Space Between Time
There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…
Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian
But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and
tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.
The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.
Publisher: Accent Press LTD.
Author: Charlie Laidlaw
Released: June 20th, 2019
Received: Blog Tour
Warnings: Death, suicide, self-harm, mental disorder
I received a copy of The Space Between Time in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Space Between Time is a beautiful and heartbreaking novel about love, loss, and the space that forms between people. It’s emotionally powerful and compelling. It follows Emma Maria Rossini on her journey through life, and it uses math to help broach some of the more difficult subjects of her life.
The Space Between Time is both beautiful and heavy. It’s one of those novels that will hit you in the gut, emotionally speaking. For that reason I feel like as powerful as it is, you have to be in the right moment to read it. For example, I can honestly tell you that this novel broke me. I mean that in a good way, truly. But it did make me cry at several different points. For me, a lot of this novel hit very close to home (well, not the famous family member part, but you know what I’m saying), and that just added to the impact.
Warnings: This novel, as I briefly touched upon already, has a lot of heavy moments within. There are examples of self-harm (two somewhat graphic moments, in particular), suicide and suicide attempts, mental health issues, and many elements that can fracture a family as well. So take care when picking this one up.
The Space Between Time is a beautiful and compelling read. It’s also heartbreaking at times, though all of the heartbreaks are ones we can expect to see in our lives. Perhaps that is what made this novel so painfully human – the fact that the pain was real, and it was believable.
While being the daughter of a famous actor may not be the most relatable part of Emma’s story, almost every other element is, in one way or another. Her family isn’t perfect, and she’s dealt with her fair share of love and loss. She has her own ways of coping with it, and her ways of distancing herself from things she isn’t ready to deal with. In that sense she felt very human to me.
The math elements in this novel, such as the chapter titles and references back to Emma’s grandfather, helped ground the novel. It was unexpected, but it worked so well. It made this novel go from fascinating to one of a kind. It was a brilliant touch, through and through. And I’m not just saying that because I liked the way the chapters were titled!
I mentioned this above, but I truly believe that there is a right time and place to read The Space Between Time. To be honest, I’m not even sure if I read it at the right moment in my life. I think I did – I’ve been dealing with loss myself, so this novel tore open those wounds and soothed at the same time. It was an interesting feeling. I think I’m grateful for the experience, on the whole. I can’t say that the same would happen for everyone though.
I loved The Space Between Time so much. It isn’t the sort of novel I read every day, but I deeply enjoyed the break from the normal. And the emotional study made it well worth it. But seriously, get the tissues ready before you start this one!
Timescale for a closed universe
It wasn’t an afternoon that I like to remember, and not just because of my shrieking tantrum. Once I’d calmed down, Mum told me I’d been very silly, because it was all make-believe on a cinema screen. I reminded her that she’d cried when Bambi’s mum died, and that was a film and a cartoon. Mum said that it wasn’t the same thing at all. But I wasn’t being silly because I wasn’t old enough to know the difference between pretence and reality.
Dad had looked pretty dead on the screen. The blood on his chest had looked pretty real. If it had been a different dead person, I would have been OK. Children don’t really know where make-believe ends and the real world begins and, partly because of who I am, it’s remained pretty hazy ever since. I also don’t like to remember that film because it was the moment when I realised that our lives were about to change, and I didn’t know if that would be a good thing.
Sounds strange, yes? Here’s something stranger: I am a child of the sea, I sometimes think, and have done ever since we first moved to live beside it. I feel subject to its vagaries and tempers, with its foaming margins framed against a towering sky. I am familiar with its unchanging mood swings. That’s how I like things; I find the familiar comforting. I find change threatening.
I am the daughter of someone who, not long after that ghastly cinema outing, became one of the most famous actors of his generation and, importantly for me, the granddaughter of a rather brilliant but obscure physics professor. But despite their overachievements, I have inherited no aptitude for mathematics and my father positively hated the idea of his only offspring following in his thespian footsteps. He knew how cruel and badly paid the profession could be. But I still look up to my grandfather, and think of his ludicrous moustache with affection.
Gramps once told me that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth. Just think of all those sandpits, beaches and deserts! That’s an awful lot of stars. He then told me, his only grandchild, that I was his shining star, which was a nice thing to say and why I remember him talking about sand and stars. On clear nights, with stars twinkling, I often think about him.
I still believe in my grandfather, and admire his stoic acceptance in the face of professional disdain, because I believe in the unique power of ideas, right or wrong, and that it’s our thoughts that shape our existence. We are who we believe ourselves to be.
I gave up believing in my father long ago, because speaking other people’s words and ideas seemed like a lame excuse for a job, even if he was paid millions, and met the Queen on several occasions. She must have liked him because she awarded him an OBE for services to film, theatre and charity. Charity! Who the hell told the Queen that?
I stopped believing in him one Christmas Day, a long time ago, when he simply didn’t turn up. It wasn’t his presents that I missed, or even his presence, but the warm, fuzzy feeling of being important to him. During that day of absence and loss I concluded that his wife and daughter couldn’t much matter to him, otherwise he’d have made a bigger effort to get home. That Christmas Day, my father was simply somewhere else, probably in a bar, immaculately dressed, his hair slicked back, the object of male envy and the centre of every woman’s attention for miles around.
In that respect, Dad was more tomcat than father, except that by then his territory, his fame, stretched around the globe. I know this: by then he had a Golden Globe to prove it. He gushed pheromones from every pore, squirting attraction in every direction, and even women with a poor sense of smell could sniff him out.
I feel mostly Scottish, but am a little bit Italian. It explains my name, Emma Maria Rossini; my dark complexion, black hair, the slightly long nose, and thin and lanky body. Obese I am not, and will never be, however much pasta I eat, and I eat lots. It also explains my temper, according to some people, although I don’t agree with them, and my brown cow’s eyes, as an almost-boyfriend once described them, thinking he was paying me a compliment, before realising that he had just become an ex-almost-boyfriend.
But mostly I am a child of the sea. That’s what happens if you live for long enough by its margins: it becomes a part of you; its mood echoing your mood, until you know what it’s thinking, and it knows everything about you. That’s what it feels like when I contemplate its tensile strength and infinite capacity for change. On calm flat days in North Berwick, with small dinghies marooned on the glassy water, and loud children squealing in its shallows, it can make me anxious and cranky.
The sea, on those days, seems soulless and tired, bereft of spirit. But on wilder days, the beach deserted, or with only a hardy dog-walker venturing across the sand, with large waves thundering in, broaching and breaking, then greedily sucking back pebbles into the foam, I feel energised: this is what the sea enjoys, a roaring irresponsibility, and I share in its pleasure. We are all children of the sea, I sometimes think, or we should be – even those who have never seen an ocean or tasted its saltiness; I can stand for hours and contemplate its far horizons, lost within myself, sharing its passion. In the Firth of Forth is the ebb and flow of my past and my existence, wrapped tight against the west wind. It is what I am, placid and calm, or loud and brash.
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