Meet Willa Waters, aged 8 . . . 33 . . . and 93.
On one impossible day in 1965, eight-year-old Willa receives a mysterious box containing a jar of water and the instruction: ‘One ocean: plant in the backyard.’ So she does – and somehow creates an extraordinary time slip that allows her to visit her future selves.
On one impossible day in 1990, Willa is 33 and a mother-of-two when her childhood self magically appears in her backyard. But she’s also a woman haunted by memories of her dark past – and is on the brink of a decision that will have tragic repercussions . . .
On one impossible day in 2050, Willa is a silver-haired, gumboot-loving 93-year-old whose memory is fading fast. Yet she knows there’s something she has to remember, a warning she must give her past selves about a terrible event in 1990. If only she could recall what it was.
Can the three Willas come together, to heal their past and save their future, before it’s too late?
Have you ever picked up a novel that is completely different to what you expected?
This novel delivers raw emotion and explores confronting themes, along with issues experienced in everyday human life.
The story follows Willa. It follows Willa at age 8, 33 and 93. My favourite Willa is 93 year old Willa, who provides comedic relief at times when 33 year old Willa is faced with the darkest memories of her past. This gumboots collecting Willa had me laughing and wishing I could sit and have tea and jam drops with her. At age 93 Willa’s mind isn’t what it used to be, however she will try to do anything to change past events in order to help herself and those around her.
The fond memories of childhood were lovely, especially the scene in which Willa dances in the rain with her Grammy. This scene is my favourite in the novel. In contrast, the horrors of Willa’s childhood were very confronting and at times I had to take a break from her sadness. The way in which domestic violence and child abuse is dealt with is on a subtle level. It was even more emotional for me, due to it being from the perspective of a child and the coping mechanisms age 8 Willa was forced to use.
I haven’t read many books that relate to time travel and expected this book to be a light read about a person who tries to change themselves for the better. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The time travel aspect is beautiful and ‘one ocean: plant in the backyard ‘ refers to the way in which Willa can travel in time to visit her past and future selves.
I started reading this book before my mum passed away unexpectedly and it has taken me a while to finish it and write this review, as I wanted a happy ending at a time when my life had turned upside down and wasn’t sure what Tabitha’s story would provide. I was also, without realising it, scared to read about a book that I wanted to be possible in so many ways. I wish more than anything for a plant and ocean in my backyard, so that I can visit my past self, take my mum to the doctors and have her looked after to avoid her heart attack. Tabitha, I wish your novel was real life. This novel has a lot of meaning for me and I will treasure it always.
Thank you to the author, Tabitha Bird for sending me a copy of this beautiful book. I am very grateful to have won such a fantastic giveaway.