Robert Heinlein wrote a number of books about a group of people who were bred to live longer lives than most people. Eventually, the short-lifers warred against the long-lifers. Highlander was about immortals. Another novella, Petals of Rose, by Marc Stiegler explores those who live much longer and those who live much shorter lives than humans. Our love affair with the idea of living forever or living an extraordinarily long life has a long history, dating well before the Roman Empire. But what about the problems associated with such a life? If others around you don't know you can live forever barring an accident, don't you think they would hate you, as in the Heinlein story? And how hard would it be to watch those around you grow old and die as in Petals of Rose by Stiegler? How do you hide your endless youth? And if your life is so long, would a year or a decade seem to be a blink of an eye? Doesn't that mean you would hardly get to know someone and they would be gone? While today's story only touches on those ideas, it is a central part of the story in many subtle ways. In Timeless by Tiffany Key, we begin to see the difficulties of being part of a hidden society whose members live an exceeding long life among the unsuspecting "normals".
By Tiffany Key
Amazon Digital Servies
In a small town north of Atlanta, three women's lives intersect. When Rebecca befriends her shy neighbor Ruth, she suspects her new friend's home life is not happy. As she gently coaxes Ruth out of her shell, an old friend returns to her life. The headstrong Zoe seems to be the opposite of Ruth but both of them have the struggle of living day by day with a broken heart. And considering that their days stretch on forever, emotional pain simply wears their spirit down without ever fading.
Most of us would envy these women who, by an evolutionary glitch, are part of a small minority who never age past 28. Yet as readers will see in this first book of The Timeless series, the reality of immortality is just as challenging and distressing as mortal life. They are not supernatural beings and possess the same wits as the rest of us, except that they don't have the advantage of growing older and wiser. They function as 20-somethings forever.
In Book One, we readers follow the three main characters as they try, unsuccessfully, to avoid being pulled into the conflict that is brewing in their people's unofficial government. Zoe and Rebecca just seek to live quietly in the shadows. Yet when Ruth can no longer sacrifice her life for her husband, her new friends find themselves sacrificing their tranquility for her safety.
About the book:
As the story unfolds, we meet Ruth while she is in the market. Slowly it dawns on us that Ruth is in a loveless marriage, though it wasn't always that way, that has become abusive, also something new. Ruth is trying her best to live with this new life she has discovered herself in but it is beginning to wear on her. An unexpected invitation to a women's group draws Ruth out and it is one of the best and worst things to happen to her as she accepts the invitation.
At the meeting she meets 'Cassie' and it shocks her to learn that Cassie is so very much like her, down to some of the things they have in their homes. But the similarities don't end there. Eventually Ruth learns Cassie is just like her.
Meanwhile, across town Zoe has returned to her home that she left decades before only to find it had been used as the local haunted house. Only the attic remained in good condition. But where was she to go now that her love Cyrus was gone?
The next day Zoe takes a bicycle trip into town to see if any of her old friends were still around. She connects with her old friend Rebecca - now going by the name of Cassie. Together, they not only reform their friendship but pull Ruth in with them. And together they plot how to save Ruth from her abusive marriage.
But beneath all of this story lies a more sinister story. There is trouble brewing among the longlives, with some believing it is time to return to the old ways and give up the modern ideas the shortlives have brought into the world - ideas like equality between the sexes. And what does Ruth's husband have to do with this? And is that why Cyrus disappeared?
I did enjoy the story. The characters were different enough to keep the reader from being confused. Ruth is a woman unhappily stuck in a relationship feeling at odds with herself about how to resolve the situation, hoping against hope that things will change. Rebecca is full of fire and ready to do almost anything. Zoe, bogged down with a broken heart, is still a strong person, making her a sympathetic character. One can almost understand Ruth's husband, a man afraid of changes, a man whose time in Viet Nam has changed him in so many ways.
Beware that there are a couple of typos in the book that might make for a confusing read at times but these are minimal.
I loved the plot to save Ruth. I also liked the way hints are dropped throughout the story, suggesting a much deeper and more action packed second book.
I wish the book had ended with a completed story. I know this is a trilogy but I do like each book in a set to have some resolution. Still, I did enjoy the book and the writing style and will definitely watch for more books by this author. For many of us, having just one book isn't enough and this book promises so much more to come.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good tale, with hints of bigger things to come and for those who like a real life situation with just a few elements to make it extraordinary.