A devoted mother is forced to make a terrible choice when 9/11 glitches her brother-in-law's time-travel calculations in Chamberlain's (The Stolen Marriage, 2017, etc.) latest.
Caroline "Carly" Grant is a physical therapist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her patient Hunter Poole refuses to use the crutches he needs to walk while his broken leg mends. Carly soon discovers Hunter isn't the suicidal accident victim he's presumed to be. In fact, he's a time traveler from the future. Hunter meets and marries Carly's Beatles-obsessed sister, Patti, fixing him in the late 1960s. That proves convenient when Carly, pregnant and recently widowed by her husband's death in Vietnam, is told her baby has a fatal heart defect. Hunter arranges for Carly to time travel to 2001. With the grudging assistance of Hunter's mother, Myra Poole, who runs a time-travel research program, Carly has fetal surgery and delivers her baby. Newborn Johanna Elizabeth proves so unhealthy she's hospitalized for most of the next four months, forcing Carly to time travel back to 1970 without her. Traveling through time is fraught with danger for not only the traveler, but also the reader, who's asked to suspend a lot of disbelief, accept arbitrary and at times inconsistent rules of time travel, and try not to guess several obvious plot twists. Still, Carly is a likable heroine, and if many of her difficulties are easily overcome, she's nonetheless caught in a heart-wrenching dilemma as she realizes time travel is, "if anything, an inexact science."
The story is well-paced and the ending satisfyingly sweet despite its predictability.