Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Time After Time by Hannah McKinnon - Book Review & Guest Post

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Review by Tanya

What could have happened if Hayley had chosen a different path in life? Hayley, a solicitor, is married to Rick with two young children. She is fed up with the monotony of life and the struggles at work with a change in management and consequent problems arising. Rick is at home trying to set up a new web design business and Hayley is annoyed that he is so laidback and that things in and around the house aren’t done. Her life takes a turn when she finds herself waking up with her first boyfriend after leaving her home in a rage and subsequently drinking at her friend’s house. Is this what she really wants or would her next boyfriend and the life she could have had with him be better? 
Time After Time is a story about a woman who has the chance to find out what would have happened if she had chosen a different path at certain times in her life. These decisions mainly involve men and they affect both Hayley herself and the people she cares about, like family and friends. Also, her children would not be around. This is tough for her to witness and makes her think hard about the life she had with Rick. She also discovers how she actually feels about her family and what it would mean for her to go back to them.

I liked the time travel idea enjoyed the fact that I learnt about every relationship Hayley had in the past. They are all different and have their own consequences when it comes to the future, which added to my understanding of Hayley's marriage in the present time. Some of the boyfriends I found unlikable and some I felt very sorry for, which kept the story surprising and very interesting. 

Time After Time is a book I kept wanting to read the next chapter of to find out what would happen next. I loved the story and especially enjoyed that it made me think about how my life would have been if I had made different decisions in my past. This is something I think we all think about, maybe not only in our love life, but in our actions or work decisions as well. ' What do you think would have been different if you had chosen a different path?' is a very good question and a wonderful topic for a book.
Guest post

Playing the (second) guessing game
By Hannah McKinnon

Most of us have second guessed at least one of our choices at some point in our lives. It seems to be a popular pastime, and Hollywood loves teasing us with the possibilities of a what if can offer.

Take Gwyneth Paltrow in the brilliant movie, Sliding Doors. When she misses the tube, she gets home late and remains oblivious to her boyfriend’s cheating habits. In an alternate present she finds him in bed with another woman, dumps him, starts her own business and meets the dashing John Hannah.

TV studios picked up the what if theme in the enchanting Canadian series Being Erica. The under-achieving heroine, Erica Strange (played by Erin Karpluk) is full of regrets and wonders how life would be if she’d done things differently. Erica gets the opportunity to ‘redo’ her choices, and the impacts of those decisions – not just on herself, but on others too – had me hooked for the full four seasons.

What if was also the genesis for my debut novel, Time After Time. I’d only been in Canada for a year and was going through a soul-searching phase. It went something like this:

What if I hadn’t agreed to pack up our house, our kids, our lives and move to Toronto, where we had no family or friends? What if I hadn’t quit my high-flying executive job and started my own business, which was a complete failure and made me feel like an utter loser? And what if I hadn’t eaten that whole damn packet of chocolate biscuits? Joking on the last one! Well, sort of.

My what ifs were gnawing at me. They made me miserable, drained my energy and motivation to the point where it felt like they were having my soul for dinner. But not all what ifs are quite so melodramatic. Some of them are fun. What if I hadn’t dropped spaghetti down my shirt, twenty minutes before a big meeting? (I wouldn’t have found my new fave dress, 25% off in the sale!)

Some of them are life-changing. What if I hadn’t flown to Canada to meet a guy I’d been chatting with on the Internet for three months? (We got married ten weeks later. He’s the love of my life).

And some of them are filled with heartbreak. One Friday evening, almost twenty-two years ago, I hugged my best friend and said, ‘Have a great weekend.’ That was the last time I saw him. He was twenty-four.

Throughout the months and years of grief that followed, the what ifs tormented me. What if I’d convinced him to hang out with me that weekend? What if I’d called him? What if, what if, what if. I’ll never have the answers, and I’m still learning to live with that. But, as the wise Albus Dumbledore once said, ‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.’

There’s no doubt that some of our what ifs can be a good thing. They can make you really think about what you have and appreciate it more. They can get you out of a rut, push you forward. Maybe help you quit your job, leave a bad relationship, try new things, discover your passion, follow your dreams, or all of the above.

It took me a while to get out of my negative what if rut, but once I’d dusted myself off I realised a few things. If I hadn’t moved to Canada or quit my bigwig job, I wouldn’t have been able to spend as much time with my three sons, watching them as they grow into wonderful young men. Nor would I have seen my husband start his own, successful electrical company – something he’d wanted to do since his late teens.

And I don’t think I’d have written Time After Time. I needed that what if phase. I had to go through the emotions, let them taunt me for a while before I took a deep breath, tackled and wrestled them to the ground, then put them where they belonged – in my debut novel.

I’m under no illusions – no doubt there will be many more what if moments in my life. But I hope I’ll take my protagonist, Hayley Cooper’s stance in those situations; deal with them, learn from them, and move on. "Life was messy, it got complicated. What mattered, Hayley realised, was how you dealt with it."

And as far as I’m concerned, there’s no what if about that.
 About Hannah McKinnon
I was born in the UK and grew up in Switzerland. Unsurprisingly I love chocolate, mountains and cheese, and books, of course.

When I moved to Canada with my husband and three sons in 2010 I went through an (early) mid-life crisis.

Maybe it was the failed attempt at a start-up company or the fact I suddenly found myself in my forties, but one morning I decided to follow my oldest passion; I started writing and never wanted to look back.

I write for adults and children, and have a soft spot for quirky short stories, many of which have been published online (see my website).

Time After Time is my first novel.

To find out more please visit or follow me on Twitter @mrselectrilight


  1. It's such an unusual and intriguing premise!


  2. 'What ifs' and guilt are huge emotive issues particularly as we hit middle age. Well done Hannah on tackling them and good luck with future writings.