Dark magic creates a love triangle that spans lifetimes in this complex, genre-bending debut. Helen Lambert, freshly divorced from Roger, meets Luke Varner for the first time on a blind date in 2012. Or so she thinks until Luke informs her that they’ve met before: in France in 1895, then California in 1935, and New Mexico in 1970. Luke is a lesser demon, overseeing a curse that forces Helen (formerly incarnated as Juliet, Nora, and Sandra) to reenact a doomed romance with Roger (previously Marchant, Billy, and Rick) through time. Worse, the curse has deadly fine print: Helen never lives past 34. But each time Helen reincarnates, her magic and memories of Luke, who she really loves, grow stronger. With only a month until her 34th birthday, Helen learns that to break the curse she must kill Luke. Sayers traverses time periods effortlessly with lush, graceful descriptions of each era, though some readers will be turned off by graphic scenes of rape and abuse as Helen is brutalized across time. This spiraling narrative will appeal to fans of historical fiction and complicated love stories who can stomach violence. (Feb.)
DEBUT Juliet LaCompte is a teenager cursed by her mother, a minor witch, to fall in love with a man who will never love her the same way for eternity. When she dies, she is reborn and the cycle starts again. Traveling to late 19th-century France, 1930s Hollywood, 1970s Southern California, and contemporary Washington, DC, Sayers weaves a complicated tale of romance by introducing more memories of her demon lover in Juliet's modern reincarnation, Helen. In each new life, she is doomed to repeat the mistakes of her past with a twist: She remembers each life she's lived, even though she's not supposed to. Things come to a head when Helen meets her lover again, but this time she only has one month to figure out how to stop the curse. Sayers's strength lies in her characters; both major and minor players are realistic and fascinating. VERDICT Sayers weaves deep historical context with rich characterizations to create a melancholic novel, reminiscent of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife and Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series that readers of historical fiction and romance will enjoy.—Kay Strahan, Univ. of Tennessee Health Sciences Lib., Memphis
When Helen Lambert meets her blind date, Luke Varner, at a trendy D.C. bar, little does she know they've met before—over several lifetimes.
In this, her debut novel, Sayers cleverly twists the loves-lost-through-time motif. Helen and Luke are not star-crossed, or rather curse-crossed, lovers from the 19th century, doomed to an eternity of thwarted passion. Instead, Sayers binds them together in a complicated codependent triangle: Helen is certainly replaying a thwarted love affair from more than a century ago, but she did not love Luke then. It all begins in 1895, when Juliet LaCompte, a beautiful 16-year-old French farm girl, falls in love with her summer neighbor, Auguste Marchant. Marchant is a Parisian artist who adores painting Juliet, and as the summer progresses, their desires for each other grow. But Marchant is very much married with a heavily pregnant wife, and Juliet is betrothed to a boy whose farm abuts her father's. Even worse, Juliet's mother, a skilled herbalist and sometime witch, finds out about their affair. Enraged that Juliet has besmirched the family's honor and terrified for reasons Juliet cannot understand, her mother casts a spell cursing Marchant. But the spell is sloppily made, and it not only catches Juliet in its web, but also saddles her with a demon administrator: Lucian Varnier (aka Luke), who begins to fall in love with her, too. Sayers builds tension between present-day Luke and Helen by plunging Helen into a dream world, where she relives her time as a 1930s Hollywood starlet and 1970s rock musician, and each incarnation of Juliet becomes more attached to Luke. Moreover, her own powers as a witch have grown, so perhaps this will be the lifetime in which she breaks the curse. But her own feelings for Luke may get in the way.
A smart, engrossing debut from a writer to watch.
"A captivating tapestry of a tale, A Witch in Time weaves together the supernatural, historical fiction, and a humorous present day heroine, while traveling the macabre brambles of a dark curse-through lifetimes-with a compass to the heart."Gwendolyn Womack, bestselling author of The Fortune Teller & The Time Collector
"Fresh and original... a narrative rich in historical detail, brightened by flashes of humor, and filled with colorful characters and fascinating settings. A most rewarding read!"Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches
"A sweeping story of magical, star-crossed love, as glamorous as it is romantic. Prepare to be dazzled."Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger
"Sayers cleverly twists the loves-lost-through-time motif....A smart, engrossing debut from a writer to watch."Kirkus
"I fell in love with Sayers' perfectly plotted debut. There's history and romance, humor and heartache, Paris and Hollywood, and a protagonist who's bewitching no matter the decade. It's time travel with a fresh twist!"Karin Tanabe, author of A Hundred Suns
"Fans of Deborah Harkness will devour this page-turning tale of love, reincarnation, and dark magic. A highly unique and enjoyable read!"Hester Fox, author of The Witch of Willow Hall
"Incredibly engrossing and decadent in all the best ways, A Witch in Time is a sumptuous story of love and loss that's perfect for fans of historical fiction with a touch of fantasy."Hypable
"With lush historical details and a wicked sense of humor, A Witch in Time fully immerses the reader in the story of Helen and her fated demon, unpacked like nesting dolls across time and lives, fortune and chance. From Belle Epoque France to modern-day D.C., from worlds pastoral, decadent, flashy to commercial, Sayers weaves a spell of love, lust and magic to create a page-turner like no other. All the thrill of a Discovery of Witches, with all the mystery and epic romance of Richard Matheson's classic Somewhere in Time."Steph Post, author of Miraculum
"Sayers traverses time periods effortlessly with lush, graceful descriptions....This spiraling narrative will appeal to fans of historical fiction and complicated love stories ."Publishers Weekly