*This review may contain minor spoiler, please read at your own risk*
Quick Synopsis: Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. Each time they fall hopelessly in love only to be tragically separated. Maybe the next together will be different…
After receiving this novel for Christmas last December I was eager to read it, after all, I had asked Santa for it; however, I was knee deep in a reading slump, one of which I had to claw my way out with my hands and teeth. Although Legend by Marie Lu lent the rope that helped me drag my sad ass from the mud, it was just a re-read, meaning I needed to get back to real reading and pick up a new book. So I picked up The Next Together after over a month of anticipation, having only read positive reviews.
The first chapter clearly signals to the reader that this book is not going to be linear, the novel progresses through a multi-strand of varying time periods recorded in a third person narrative mainly focused on Katherine. And contrary to the vastly different upbringings each version experienced, Katherine’s personality stayed consistent; whether she was a Lady or a Servant, a Uni student or Scientist, she made the same jokes and noticed the same quirks in Matthew. You could reason that this is purely consistency to display how each Katherine is connected, the same person who just looks different; however – call me nitpicky – this presentation throws the whole nature nurture debate out the window, as surly Lady Katherine of 1745 would drastically differ from Kat of 2039. The same goes for Matthew, except his physical appearance mostly remains similar to each version, he just adds a different hair style and period relevant clothing, where Katherine’s build changes from each version.
The story follows three different time periods, 1745, 1854 and 2039, with small extracts from 2019 which mainly consist of post-it notes, e-mails and Facebook posts. Despite the fact that this is quite a variety, I felt as if the time periods were not explored as fully as they could have been, the world’s lacked detailed descriptions as they merely just served as backdrops for Katherine and Matthew’s love affair. This is especially true for the 1745 and 1854 settings as both storylines took place during a historical event, the former being the Jacobites invasion of England and the latter being the Crimean War, having such influential historical events as settings should prompt the inclusion of a further exploration into the history, unfortunately this was not the case.
Despite that, the pacing of the novel was relatively good. All the timelines progressed at the same steady rate with their conclusions occurring in a chronological order.
What is more, the characters were easy to connect with as they were not one dimensional. I found I could empathise with them and the chemistry between Matthew and Katherine was undeniable. Although I wouldn’t have acted the way they did, I understand why they committed certain actions as the motivations were made clear. Sadly, with the spotlight shining on Matthew and Katherine, the author left little to no room when it came to developing side characters as they were all one dimensional, which sucked as the character of Tom would have been an enjoyable addition to the main cast, had he been developed more.
Overall, despite my nit picking, the novel was engaging and the central protagonists were likeable. However, I feel as if it failed to reach its potential as it focused more on the ‘epic romance’ then the reasoning behind the situation. Maybe next time Lauren James will stick to just romance, and leave the time travel novels to the likes of Diana Gabaldon and Stephen King. This novel receives a respective 3/5 stars.
Thank you for checking out this review. Check out the book and leave your opinions down below!