Today I’m so delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw.
There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…
Emma Maria Rossini’s perfect life begins to splinter when her celebrity father becomes more distant, and her mother dies suspiciously during a lightning storm. This death has a massive effect on Emma, but after stumbling through university, she settles into work
as a journalist in Edinburgh. Her past, however, cannot be escaped. Her mental health becomes unstable. But while recovering in a mental institution, Emma begins to write a memoir to help come to terms with the unravelling of her life. She finds ultimate solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe – which offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.
I’ve been so lucky to have been able to review some wonderful books of late and this has certainly continued with The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw. It is a beautifully poignant tale and one that I was swept away with from the start. Told through the eyes of Emma, we join her in childhood and embark on her journey suffering loses and heartbreaks along the way. As a narrator she is an incredibly interesting character. Her world is actually quite small. The daughter of a famous actor, she is hidden away with her reclusive mother, secluded from the bright lights of the Hollywood lifestyle. Her father visits, seemingly rarely, and although adored by millions, is simply Dad to her.
What’s also interesting is the way that memory is explored within the story. The villains in Emma’s own story are darkened by her own beliefs and disappointments. An ‘ordinary’ childhood she did not have. Her mother is beautiful, swears and drinks a lot and seems to suffer from her own neurosis. Her father a famous actor who is absent more often than not and who also seems to send her mother into a constant rage. The characters that surround Emma are given to us how she wants them to be presented but there is much provided between the lines by Charlie that enable us to question and come to our own conclusions.
This wonderful novel touches on so many different themes but the subject of mental health, dysfunctional families and of course the fascinating question of memory were prominent for me. How things are expressed considering whose view point we see it through and the reliability of the narrator are key to interpretation. I often find a first person narration can be pretty unreliable, especially when our protagonist is remembering traumatic events and what led to them. Yet first person can be incredibly powerful as we get to feel through their words and, I think, one of my favourite viewpoints. Charlie is very good at it and he brought Emma to life beautifully.
This is an engrossing read and I really liked Emma and I liked how the echoes of her family history fed into her life and personality. Families give so much history behind us and there is often so much we don’t know about what went before us, yet we can still feel the aftershock rumbling through our own lives, thoughts and feelings. This is hit on wonderfully in The Space Between Time.
One of the things that drew me to this novel was the theme of the universe. How we are all connected. The talk of stars, dark matter and black holes. Of course this isn’t just a story about science and mathematics but Charlie does use it to bring a wonderful extra dimension that I found absolutely fascinating. I loved how each chapter title was an equation – compared to many I know very little about it all but their presence made me feel that a message was being conveyed throughout this tale… and it was. One of life, love, family and the universe, and what an absolute pleasure it was to read too.
Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Charlie for writing such an engaging enjoyable novel. I’m now very intrigued to go back and read his earlier novel, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead.
The Space Between Time is published by Accent Press on the 20th June and will be available in both eBook and paperback.
About the author
Charlie Laidlaw was born in Paisley and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist and worked in defence intelligence. He now runs his own marketing consultancy in East Lothian. He is married with two grown-up