Review: Hemingway's Notebook (Love Across Time #5) by Jackie North

Soulmates across time. Two souls connected by destiny.

In present day, Jake, lonely and cut off from his parents, travels to the Chamberlin Inn in Cody, Wyoming to work on extra credit for his college seminar.

In 1932, Sebby labors at the Chamberlin Inn for pennies a day, wishing with all his heart for a better life.

While taking photographs in the room where Ernest Hemingway once stayed, Jake is flung back in time to the year 1932. There he meets Sebby who is living on the edge, half starving, a victim of the Great Depression. He’s been dodging rent collectors, getting behind on doctor's bills, trying to care for his ailing Pop.

Sebby falls hard for Jake with his movie star smile, but knows something is different about him. Jake wears strange clothes, talks too fast, and doesn’t look like he’s gone hungry a day in his whole life. He’s also the handsomest boy Sebby has ever seen.

Jake is drawn to Sebby’s dark eyes, shy smile, and gentle heart. Sebby is like nobody Jake has ever met. And though the year 1932 scares him to his very core, he needs to decide. Go home? Or stay and weather the Depression with Sebby, whom he has grown to love.

A male/male time travel romance, complete with hurt/comfort, true confessions, a shared bed, first time romance, the angst of separation, and true love across time.

I have to preface this by saying I generally run away like I’m on fire when presented with time travel romances. Not that I don’t like them; when they are done well I like them too much and dammit, 10 year old me was not prepared for the heartbreak that was Somewhere in Time. I didn’t even really get romance at the tender age of 10 (or probably more like 12 since we watched it on TV), yet the movie still killed me to death.

The premise on this one made me want it though, I was intrigued by the Hemingway angle and while he’s a very secondary character, the author did not disappoint in tying him in seamlessly to the plot. The author also did not fail in effectively killing me almost to death with another damn time travel romance. Sweet cheezus I was stressed out every time Sebby or Jake entered the room Hemingway stayed in and with good reason! I did have good feels about where this story was going and thankfully Jake’s ending was not Richard Collier’s. I’m still irritated with my mother for making me watch that movie with her.

Anywho, childhood bitterness aside, this character driven tale was beautifully told and the depiction of Sebby and his father’s life was so vividly described that I had one of those amazing book experiences where you forget you’re even reading because you are so in the moment with the characters.

Jake is a present day everyman. He’s a really good guy, but not remarkable and that is no dig at Jake. He did have a crappy family life and was at somewhat of a crossroads as he was ending his university tenure and about to head out to the real world. And the mood from him was not about the excitement of possibilities, but more of a melancholy resignation.

When he traveled back in time after being in the room Hemingway stayed in and talking himself into a position at the hotel working with Sebby and staying with Sebby and his Pop, he eventually came into his own. While Jake make not have been remarkable in the present day, in the past he slowly found his feet and became the man he was meant to be because he became the hero that Sebby and his Pop deserved.

For awhile I felt a little disconnected with Jake and I think at first it was because Sebby was such a sympathetic and likable character. Sebby was my focus and I viewed Jake through his eyes, but also knew his backstory, so my view was a little at odds with Sebby’s. But, once I saw Jake’s confidence grow and watched him become the man that Sebby saw, and resolve himself to a new future, he became fully fleshed out for me and the evolution of his character worked perfectly for the story.

The supposition of Hemingway’s involvement and the very tidy ending were not the most believable, but I really didn’t care considering how much I liked all the characters. I wanted that ending for them, for all of them and I decided to just kind of swept my disbelief under one of Mrs. Johnson’s braided rugs.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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