Book Review: ‘In This Moment’

A heroine moves through different eras in this time-travel novel

Book Review: ‘In This Moment’
Gabrielle Meyer's historical fiction, "In This Moment," takes the readers on a journey through time. (Aris-Tect Group/Shutterstock)
Anita L. Sherman

“In this Moment,” by Gabrielle Meyer is the second in her Timeless series. Appropriately titled, her characters struggle with familiar themes: love, faith, professions, and the challenges of their circumstances.

This historical fiction has a twist which may, or may not, appeal to all readers, but overall it’s a fast-paced and compelling story.

Time Traveling Triage

First of all, in order to enjoy this book you must embrace the suspension of disbelief. The plot is not only improbable but impossible: one woman living three separate lives in three different time periods. It’s time traveling on steroids.

Margaret (or Maggie, or Meg) has inherited the gift of time-crossing. This means that the heroine can move seamlessly from one historical time period to another, simply by going to sleep and reawakening in different worlds. She retains full memory of each life as she moves from one to the other.

The challenge is that, by her 21st birthday, she must choose one of these three paths to follow as her forever future. Her body will die in the other two.

The author admittedly is a lover of history and has done her research in choosing and creating the three time periods: 1861, 1941, and 2001. They are authentic in description and many, but not all, of her characters are based on actual figures. Some are obvious but others are little known, like a woman spy working for the Confederates who happen to be neighbors.

In 1861, Margaret Wakefield is the daughter of a senator close to President Abraham Lincoln. Leading a privileged life, she is devoted to her father and his well-being, particularly because he was left wifeless and she motherless at an early age. Constrained by societal dictates of what is proper for young ladies of her stature, she nevertheless befriends Clara Barton and sees to the needs of injured soldiers. Margaret moves in her many layered petticoats from formal dinners to crowded sick bays. She knows that the Civil War will rage for several years but cannot share its outcome.

In 1941, Maggie Hollingsworth is a navy nurse. She is close to her sister Anna who is grieving over the loss of her husband. In this time period, she has both her parents, and it is from them that she has inherited her status as a time-crosser. She can discuss her challenges openly with them and often consults them for guidance. Otherwise, she holds her secret close to her chest, and it's forbidden to warn others about future events that is she aware of. Sharing her time traveling ability with others really isn’t an option, although tempting. She is not a history changer. She does, however, volunteer on a ship heading to Pearl Harbor.

In 2001, Meg Clarke is a brilliant and budding medical student with dreams of becoming a surgeon. It looks like she’s primed for a residency at Georgetown University Hospital. She has a best friend whom she can confide in, and who is aware of and accepts her time-crossing. On Sept. 11, 2001, she visits the Pentagon soon after seeing the Twin Towers in flames on television.

Which Life, Which Love?

If life isn’t complicated enough moving through these three time periods, the author has added love interests in each, making Maggie’s decision just that much more difficult. There’s Gray Cooper in 1861, Dr. Zechariah Philips in 1941, and Seth Wallace in 2001.

All of them are handsome. All of them are intelligent and caring in their own ways. And all of them tug at Maggie’s heartstrings.

As she struggles to sort out her feelings in each time period, faith and her trust in a Higher Power are a constant. She believes strongly that there is a design for her destiny, even though it may be one not expected or anticipated. In all of her lives, she is giving and generous to a fault. She is also vulnerable, and needs and relies on strong personalities to bolster her confidence and courage.

While set in three different time periods, the author does have some consistent threads. Washington, D.C. is depicted in each timeframe so familiar streets and places appear, but with obvious differences between the decades. For the heroine, she can compare notes. For the reader, historical tidbits are interesting, and add authenticity, at least to her surroundings.

Which time period and lover does she choose? No worries, no spoilers. The outcome will keep you guessing and turning the pages from chapter to chapter to find out.

Again, if you’re not into time traveling themes, this read isn’t for you. But if you can suspend your disbelief and imagine the unimaginable, the plot and storylines are believable, and as timeless as the author suggests.

Margaret, Maggie, and Meg all embrace each moment they are given, with faith, love, and optimism. Laudable themes, narrated in a fast-paced, easy to read string of chapters. Call it historical fiction, or Christian historical fiction, or historical romance fiction, it’s a time traveling romp through history with a likeable heroine seeking meaning and love.

 "In This Moment" by Gabrielle Meyer is a fast-paced journey through time. (Bethany House Publishers)
"In This Moment" by Gabrielle Meyer is a fast-paced journey through time. (Bethany House Publishers)
‘In This Moment’ By Gabrielle Meyer Bethany House Publishers, May 2, 2023 Paperback: 400 pages
Anita L. Sherman is an award-winning journalist who has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for local papers and regional publications in Virginia. She now works as a freelance writer and is working on her first novel. She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother to four, and she resides in Warrenton, Va. She can be reached at [email protected]