The Future of Stoneford, a small English village, might pretty much be decided. A future that would have a significant effect on its inhabitants. Some of them would receive a big financial gain, whereas others would end up homeless. Charlie Lowe, a local museum worker, not wanting to feel helpless, decides to take actions which would complicate the situation and affect her in a major way. Being a village historian, Charlie is as familiar with relations between the people of Stoneford, as she is with the various other historical facts that with time, have led to the current predicament. She is desperate to save the village and the village oak. Although she is well liked in Stoneford, she seems to keep to herself, and her cousin, Nick, appears to be her closest friend.
As frustration gets the better of Charlie she waits for the consequences of her actions to catch up with her. She tries to find more information – researching her family tree in the hope that questions might be answered which could help save the village. In the meantime, a big storm passes Stoneford that triggers a virus software malfunction which results in Charlie being thrown back in time to Regency era England. This opens up new possibilities and challenges.
Whatever happens in 19th Century Stoneford might have dramatic effects on the future. However, Charlie knows well that meddling in the history would definitely cause more trouble, or even total chaos. With her hands tied, she manages to adapt to her new reality, meet her ancestors, fall in love and contribute to the eventual outcome in a way that would not adversely affect the future. As impossible as it sounds, tech-savvy Nick finds a way to communicate with Charlie. She might want to save the village she loves, but she will also face a huge dilemma which could change the history and make her face a life or death situation. Also her new love interest, Mr Deeley, seems to be in a catch-22 situation with no possible solution on the horizon. Is history going to be inevitably changed because a girl interrupted it, or maybe the interpretation of history has many different layers of understanding?
The story is told by the intertwining events of Stoneford in 21st and 19th Centuries. There are lots of humorous situations – Charlie is not the only one that seems to be personally affected by the virus that transported her back in time. Life in rural Stoneford is well portrayed. There are some interesting sub-plots, e.g. the alienation of gypsy people and the independence of women.
The book is an interesting and very funny read. The characters have fascinating qualities and make the read very enjoyable. I loved the humour immensely and the descriptions of Stoneford in 19th Century are wonderful. Some parts of the book (mostly descriptions of the characters) seem to be written more like a screenplay, however, it doesn’t affect the story in a major way. Persistence of Memory was primarily written as a screenplay, but later re-written as a novel. There’s only one thing that I struggled to understand which almost spoilt it for me. As most of the characters of the book are quite understanding towards the time travel aspect and quite engrossed in it, how could they not see the difference between two women who were switched at the time when one of them was going back in time and the other one travelled to the future? Then I remembered one of my favourite French comedies, Les Visiteurs, where Jean Reno as a Medieval Comte de Montmirail is thrown into the future where he’s mistaken for a cousin of one of the main characters – the resemblance was just uncanny. Persistence of Memory is just full of comedy situations and laugh out loud moments. It doesn’t matter that some things may seem improbable, the book is entertaining and the story is told in an intriguing storytelling language.
Persistence of Memory is a charming and quirky book, which will make you laugh and make you think what you would do if you could go back and have an opportunity to save the day. Those who like Austenesque romance will love it.
Author: Winona Kent
Title: Persistence of Memory
Publisher: Fable Press
Format: Kindle Edition, 356 pages