Lauren James, The Last Beginning, Walker Books Australia, 1 Oct 2016, 344pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781406358063
In 2056, Chloe Sutcliffe discovers quite a few things about her life she had not known: her parents are actually her aunt and uncle, her real parents are missing, and she is the famous History Revisionist. Using the time machine that her aunt built, and directions from her A.I. Spart, Chloe goes back to known historical events to find her parents. But going into the past can change it, and Chloe’s interactions with her father means her return to the future is a journey into an unknown. She needs to go back and rearrange the past to reinvent the future, and bring her parents back to where they should be. Ella is unexpectedly there to help and is uncanny in her knowledge of what Chloe’s life is in the future. The mystery slowly unravels as Chloe learns she is the one who created the act of rewriting history and was the person to place her parents at the point of change in time in the first place.
A sequel to The Next Together, this is another of what Lauren James has dubbed ‘reincarnation romance’. This love story is Clove and Ella’s, one that started in the future and that Ella has stretched backwards in time. Again, the text is studded with artefacts from the ‘past’ – communications between Ella and Clove, extracts from an unauthorised biography of Clove Sutcliffe and internet news. Time-travel narratives keep you on your toes, but this book has helpful changes of fonts with the different eras. A complex story that’s almost as compelling as its prequel.
Reviewed by Pam Harvey