A richly atmospheric portrait of women’s agency and the timelessness of love, Time Squared explores the enduring roles of rights, responsibility, and devotion throughout history
The game will change when you remember who you are
Robin and Eleanor meet in 1811 at the British estate of Eleanor’s rich aunt Clara. Robin is about to leave to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, and her aunt rules out a marriage between them. Everyone Eleanor knows, including Robin, believe they’ve always lived in these times.
But Eleanor has strange glimpses of other eras, dreams that aren’t dreams but memories of other lives. And their time jumps start as their romance deepens. Robin fights in the Boer War, the First and Second World Wars, in Vietnam and Iraq. Meanwhile, Eleanor struggles to figure out what’s going on, finally understanding that she and Robin are being manipulated through time.
Who is doing this, and why? Arriving in modern times, Eleanor sets off to confront the ones she discovers are behind this — chessmasters playing her like a pawn. Eleanor’s goal? To free herself to live out her life on her own terms.
Time Squared examines the roles women are forced to play in different centuries, the power they’re allowed, the stresses they face — and what this does to their relationships.
“That didn’t go very well,” Eleanor told her aunt, as male boots thundered downstairs. “At least not for your purposes. ”
“You were sweet,” her aunt said. “You quite charmed Mr. Denholm, and I continue to hold out hopes of Mr. Mowbray. ”
“The Denholms were more interesting than I would have predicted,” Eleanor said, settling back beside her aunt. “But I wish you’d give up on Stansfield. ”
“So you did like Edward Denholm, my dear?”
Eleanor paused. “He’s certainly the heir, isn’t he? I found him rather intimidating, although I’d hate for him to know that. He continues to be far too pleased with himself. And I would say he’s restless and guess at unreliable—for your purposes, aunt. ”
“Not for yours?”
Eleanor remained silent.
“Unlike the captain?”
“I imagine the captain’s superiors find him reliable, which is more to the point. I speak with great confidence, of course, after a visit fifteen minutes long. ”
“You speak with a good degree of penetration. ”
Eleanor turned staunch: “Not that it has anything to do with me. ”
“You really don’t want your own household, dear?” Her aunt pushed back her hair to look in her face. “Husbands are quite pleasant, if properly managed. Not that I want another one. ”
“I suppose I want the usual thing,” Eleanor said. “I don’t know what else a young lady is supposed to want. But I dislike the manner of getting a husband. I prefer not to be artificial. ”
“But of course we all are. It’s another word for educated. ”
Her aunt pulled her hair lightly. She was only teasing, but Eleanor got an unpleasant picture of herself as a marionette—it flooded her mind—and she jerked awake that night panting from a nightmare of being manipulated by strings. The classical gods up on Mount Olympus were making her dance, and it wasn’t a pretty dance, but a rude Punch and Judy twitch and thrust inside a glass-fronted theatre. She was being pulled deep into a theatre that wasn’t much bigger than a box; sucked away from Goodwood even as she danced her witless dance, finding she had to struggle hard to pull herself out of, out of—she didn’t know what.
Eleanor sat up in bed, willing herself awake, and realized she’d had the same bad dream during her nap. Not the same, but she’d felt a similar sense of being pushed and pulled, an anxious urge to get to the party, get to the party, without knowing what that meant.
They needed her to get started. That sounded faintly ominous. Yet—settling back on her pillows—she supposed what had really started was a competition for the Denholm heir. The Middleford ladies had reached the obvious conclusion before his arrival that Mr. Denholm was coming here to look for a wife, the parish being known for its marriageable young ladies. A number enjoyed a reputation for beauty, and there were two or three heiresses among them.