This one was a Kindle Daily Deal. The Science Fiction & Fantasy titles rarely ever appeal to me, but I liked the cover and it drew comparisons to Neil Gaiman, so I figured I'd take it out for a spin.
Eleanor by Jason Gurley
Time is a river.
1985. The death of Eleanor's twin sister tears her family apart. Her father blames her mother for the accident. When Eleanor's mother looks at her, she sees only the daughter she lost. Their wounded family crumbles under the weight of their shared grief.
1993. Eleanor is fourteen years old when it happens for the first time... when she walks through an ordinary door at school and finds herself in another world. It happens again and again, but it's only a curiosity until that day at the cliffs. The day when Eleanor dives... and something rips her out of time itself.
And on the other side, someone is waiting for her.
My first impression:
1962. Eleanor seems very sad and she wonders what her life might have been like had she not met her husband Hob. She was a champion swimmer and was going to qualifiers for the Olympics, but she fell in love and had a child. Hob seems to care for her very deeply, but he is a gruff man that does not like to show emotion.
Eleanor wanted to get back into competitive swimming, but her old coach tells her she is out of the race. The effects of age and child-bearing have taken their toll, but she decides she is going to train anyway. Hob puts the idea in her head that if she can’t swim, then perhaps she can still dive competitively. So she goes to the ocean every day to swim and cliff dive. Her young daughter Agnes wants to go with her, but she is too young to swim in the ocean.
Her time at home is spent in a breakfast nook staring out the window. It seems to rain a lot where they live. Hob is older and seems broken physically and perhaps mentally. Eleanor loves him, but they keep their distance most of the time.
One day when she is practicing, she has had an accident and she twisted her ankle. When she went to the doctor for it, she found she was pregnant again and the doctor was telling her to stay out of the ocean and absolutely no diving.
Feeling her life being controlled by others and knowing her life’s dreams were passing her by, she drives down to the ocean, strips and jumps in the water.
Cut to 1985: Agnes is grown and she has twins, Esmerelda and Eleanor. The twins seem to be a handful. Agnes’ husband, Paul, is away at a Realtor convention. He is a failed architect that has settled for selling real estate. In his spare time, though, he makes models of tiny houses. Agnes is trying to get the girls ready so she can go to the airport and pick up her husband. She is stressing, the girls are fighting and she doesn’t seem too happy about her life at the moment.
The pacing in the beginning of the book is on the slow side and nothing ever seems to happen. Everyone just seems so miserable. There is no explanation for what happened to Eleanor which may come up later in the book, but this book did not grab me as I had hoped. One of the endorsements compared it to The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and another to A Wrinkle in Time by Ursula K. Leguin, two phenomenal authors. But the promise didn’t hold up to the reality and I just could not get into the story.
Not to buy