Review: It Wasn’t Always Like This by Joy Preble

it wasn't always like this -joy prebleIn 1916, Emma O’Neill is frozen in time. After sampling an experimental polio vaccine brewed on a remote island off St. Augustine, Florida, she and her family stop aging—as do the Ryans, her family’s business partners. In a way, this suits Emma fine because she’s in love with Charlie Ryan. Being seventeen forever with him is a dream. But soon a group of religious fanatics, the Church of Light, takes note. Drinking the elixir has made the O’Neills and Ryans impervious to aging, but not to murder—Emma and Charlie are the only ones who escape with their lives.

On the run, Emma is tragically separated from Charlie. For the next hundred years, she plays a cat-and-mouse game with the founding members of the Church of Light and their descendants. Over the years, a series of murders—whose victims all bear more than a passing resemblance to her—indicate that her enemies are closing in. Yet as the danger grows, so does Emma’s hope for finding the boy she’s certain is still out there . . .

1.5 Drink Me Potions

**It Wasn’t Always Like This comes out May 17, 2016**

Thank you Edelweiss and Soho Press for this copy in exchange for an honest review

DNF’d at 58%

I honestly thought I would enjoy this book. At first, I thought my discontent was from the writing style. This is my first book from Joy Preble, although I was very intrigued with her previous novel, Finding Paris. I laid that aside and just kept going.

I thought it’d be more romantic. Two protagonists who loved each other. No matter how long their separation was (like, seriously a 100 years?), they’d somehow find their way back to each other and try to get rid of the threat from some lunatic religious organization hell-bent on destroying them, unperturbed by killing other innocents whom they’d mistaken for her.

Unfortunately, it just fell flat. The boy never really makes an appearance in her life for the most of the story that I reached. Just the occasional flashback of what happened in their lives that changed everything (i.e. how they practically became immortal). He wasn’t physically present in her current and modern life. Kinda hard to appreciate that aspect of the story if he was all but just a fond memory.

I told myself to keep on reading. It’ll just get better, ya know? Right? But once I stopped for a break (at 58%), I just couldn’t continue and pick it up again. I was just so tired of the constant fear from some crazed church group who could be hiding in plain sight and re-branded from their original name. So with huge regret, I’m sorry to say that It Wasn’t Always Like This just didn’t end up working for me. I gave it my best shot.

I just hope that at the end of it, they find each other and get their second chance, after everything.

Overall Recommendation:
Well, I couldn’t really finish this book, stopping at 58%. However, it could’ve just been something that personally didn’t click with me. There was suspense from being chased by religious fanatics – who were also killers, by the way. The romance didn’t work for me because, well, they hadn’t seen each other in like 100 years. It’s not that I hated this novel, but I just couldn’t bring myself to finishing it, try as I may. Maybe it’d be a better read for others.

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