Review: Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan

12 Nov

Now & Then by Jacqueline SheehanMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.

I liked Now & Then, but I didn’t love it.

Usually when this happens, I can list what I did and didn’t like about the book. I’m finding that difficult to do. The book was pleasant enough. There wasn’t really anything I disliked about it. There wasn’t a lot that I strongly liked, either.

From the book cover:

Anna O’Shea has failed at marriage, shed her job at a law firm, and she’s trying to re-create herself when she and her recalcitrant nephew are summoned to the past in a manner that nearly destroys them. Her twenty-first-century skills pale as she struggles to find her nephew in nineteenth-century Ireland. For one of them, the past is brutally difficult, filled with hunger and struggle. For the other, the past is filled with privilege, status, and a reprieve from the crushing pain of present-day life. For both Anna and her nephew, the past offers them a chance at love.

Will every choice they make reverberate down through time? And do Irish Wolfhounds carry the soul of the ancient celts?

The past and present wrap around finely wrought characters who reveal the road home. Mystical, charming, and fantastic, New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Sheehan’s Now & Then is a poignant and beautiful tale of a remarkable journey. It is a miraculous evocation of a breathtaking place in a volatile age filled with rich, unforgettable, deeply human characters and one unforgettable dog named Madigan.

I think the plot had a lot of promise, and I’m not quite sure why it didn’t feel like it delivered. It got tangled in time travel paradoxes, of course, but that’s what’s supposed to happen. I’d be disappointed in a time travel book that didn’t!

Anna had her moments, and I’m not sure why I didn’t her more than I did.   She had an interesting background.  I think I got tired of being told what a strong person she was.   I rarely felt it.  She didn’t seem weak.  I just didn’t have a good rapport with her as a character.

Joseph was an appropriately obnoxious teenager. I didn’t like him much, but I wasn’t supposed to. I was sympathetic to his situation, both his back-story before the book began, and the events of the book itself.

I did appreciate the look at Irish history, and the dynamics of the relationship between the English and the Irish.  It’s something I don’t know very much about, and now I’d like to know more.

I wish Madigan (the dog) had more of a role. I wish there had been a bit more grey and a bit less black and white. I wish it’d just had a little more of whatever it was that was missing.

It wasn’t a bad read, but it could have been better.  I apologize for the wishy-washy review!

For more information on the book or the author, check out Jacqueline Sheehan’s website, or listen to her interview with Book Club Girl on Blog Talk Radio.

TLC Book ToursI read this book for a TLC Book Tour.  Thank you to Trish for giving me the opportunity to participate.

To see some other opinions, see the other tour stops:


Posted by on November 12, 2009 in books, tour


Tags: , , ,

8 responses to “Review: Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan

  1. Jenn

    November 12, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Looks cute, and it sounds interesting. From your review, I’m not sure if it’s my type of book, but thanks! (:

  2. kim

    November 12, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I don’t think I would read this book, but I do love the cover!

  3. docshona

    November 12, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Not quite sure if I would want to read this one. Seems like lot is going on in the story. Thanks for the honest review.

  4. trish

    November 12, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I think these are the hardest reviews to write, the ones where we’re just, Meh.

    Thanks for being on the tour, though, and telling us what you thought of the book! 😀

  5. Kathy R (Bermudaonion)

    November 13, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Too bad, because that cover is very appealing! I want the dog on there.

  6. mari

    November 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I also didn’t love this book. Other than Time Traveler’s Wife I just don’t enjoy time travel much.

  7. Jen - Devourer of Books

    November 23, 2009 at 8:12 am

    It almost seemed like Madigan originally had more of a role that got edited down or something, he didn’t quite make sense as he was in there, especially with the thing on the back of the book about Irish Wolfhounds and the souls of the ancient Celts, that wasn’t really addressed in the book at all, other than ‘oh, they usually only do that for Irish.’


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