Jo-Jo is a busy accountant who feels perfectly at home in the fast-paced, modern world. She enjoys visiting George’s second-hand record shop on the King’s Road in London, as George is always there with a new collection of records in the window, a cup of tea and some friendly advice. When she visits him to go through his yearly accounts, she meets one of George’s best customers, Harry, and George suggests Jo-Jo could help Harry out too. Jo-Jo takes his business card, tries to ignore his easy demeanour and kind blue eyes, and heads back out onto The King’s Road. Crossing the zebra crossing, she doesn’t see the car heading towards her until it’s too late.
When Jo-Jo wakes up, her overwhelming feeling is confusion. People are crowded round her, asking if she’s all right and, as she tries to assure them she’s fine, she begins to notice that things have changed – lots of things. As Jo-Jo tries to come to terms with the aftermath of the accident, she realises that, despite the confusion and uncertainty she’s suddenly faced with, there are a few familiar faces that she knows she’s going to be able to count on.
The different decades are vividly described, from the fashion to the surroundings, the culture and the attitudes. Some of Jo-Jo and Ellie’s outfits are incredible, and at times I found it difficult to believe that Ali wasn’t slipping into pure fiction, rather than looking back at the trends of that particular decade. Many of you will have picked up on the significance of the King’s Road zebra crossing, and there is a certain band that plays quite a central theme in the novel. I probably didn’t pick up on half of the references, but anybody who’s a fan of The Beatles will have an extra thrill reading this book.
Step Back in Time is a funny, original novel with strong characters, wonderful, diverse settings and a ribbon of enchantment running through it. I felt like I was getting five stories for the price of one, but with the final satisfaction that a good novel gives you. This was something different from Ali McNamara, and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do next.
Ali McNamara's website