Could she be everything you aren’t, but somehow―still be you?
It’s the year 2015 and Sonnet McKay is the daughter of a globe-trotting diplomat, home for the summer from her exotic life. Everything would be perfect if not for her stunning sister, whose bright star has left her in the shadows. In 1895, Emma Sweetwine is trapped in a Victorian mansion, dreaming of wings to fly her far from her mother, who gives her love to her sons, leaving nothing for her daughter. Fate puts them in the same house at the same moment, 120 years apart, and the identical fifteen-year-olds are switched in time. In their new worlds, Sonnet falls in love with a boy, Emma falls in love with a life, and astonishing family secrets are revealed. Torn, both girls want to still go home— but can either one give up what they now have?
But Not Forever is an enchanting story of love and longing, and the heart’s ultimate quest to find where it belongs.
Rating: 3.25 stars
Thank you to NetGalley and SparkPress for sending this ARC to me in exchange for an honest review.
Initially, I thought I wasn’t going to like this book at all. The first chapter jumped right into the story with little background and the switch between Sonnet’s first person POV and Emma’s third person POV was frustrating. However, the story turned out to be enjoyable enough.
The biggest problem I had with this book was that everyone, whether in 1895 or 2015, was quickly and completely open to accepting the fact that these two girls had time traveled into each others’ worlds. There was little questioning about it all, especially with Emma in 2015. If my sister came out of a closet claiming to be another person from 120 years in the past, I’d roll my eyes and tell her to come up with a better prank. But everyone just accepts it like it’s the norm when Emma and Sonnet “switch places”.
Another issue I had with this, albeit small, was that there were some discrepancies with the time line. I knew this would be an issue as soon as I read that one of the settings is in 1895. I’ve found more often than not that authors do not always do the proper research to make a setting this far back believable. For instance, though this is small, Sonnet eats cotton candy at a fair in 1895, but cotton candy wasn’t actually invented until 1897, and was not released to a larger public until a fair in 1904. Now I know this isn’t just common knowledge, but it’s easily accessible information that the author didn’t look into. I also found that some of the dialect spoken in the 1895 setting didn’t feel quite right for that time period.
Now, let’s talk about the good things! This was a fairly quick read and once you get past the fact that everyone is just okay with two girls casually time traveling, the story pulls you in. I found that I was genuinely curious about how Emma and Sonnet were each going to get back home. I preferred to read about Sonnet in 1895, as this was just the more interesting POV between the two, but I didn’t mind Emma’s. The mix of the two made for a cute, magical realism type of story.
My favorite thing about this was that it really gets you thinking about how the past and the future are connected. The book discusses reincarnation and doppelgangers and I actually really loved that. I always love getting into something that reminds me that our present – and future – is built up by the tiniest moments and decisions in the past, even before we are born. These kind of stories are just really intriguing. I liked the way that the author decided to connect everything towards the end of the story, but I do think that it should’ve been done a little more carefully, since our past is not altered by our future as this kind of indicated, but instead the other way around.
Overall, this was something nice to really get you thinking about some things you might not always have on your mind, and the story is compelling enough to keep it interesting. I’m not disappointed.