When a seemingly charmed trio of lives start to unravel, where exactly does that leave the little â€“ then not so little â€“ girl in the middle?
Emma Maria Rossiniâ€™s father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation, but her beautiful, more vulnerable mother prefers to stay out of the limelight. Emmaâ€™s grandfather is an obscure, often derided Italian astrophysicist whose theorem on the universe starts to gain traction.
It all makes for a very complex life experience, piling Emma with baggage that she attempts to carry into adulthood, and leaving her with a lot of emotional issues. Although the novel is, essentially, her â€˜memoirâ€™ written as a form of therapy, Emma is an unreliable narrator â€“ until the jigsaw pieces of her life finally come together.
The Space Between Time is a character (rather than plot) driven story, and as such, all the characters are very well developed. Their flaws are glaring, their weaknesses prodded, but none are without redemption, leaving us understanding why they act the way they do. Emma, herself, is prickly, witty, clever and slightly eccentric; itâ€™s a mix that is difficult to pull off, but Charlie Laidlaw does it well, and Emma is engaging, even when sheâ€™s infuriating!
Underpinned with multiple interlinked themes of mental health, celebrity, family and friendship, the novel is not a fast-paced read. Itâ€™s more of a series of images that throw light on Emmaâ€™s life. Itâ€™s both sad and, ultimately, uplifting, as Emma sums up where she is at the end of the book. Take away the extreme colour and high profile nature of the Rossini family, and Emmaâ€™s experiences will resonate with many, many readers.
Iâ€™ve no idea about the accuracy of the mathematical theory that lines the framework of the book and heads the chapters, but I donâ€™t doubt that Charlie Laidlaw has, and it certainly adds another layer of authenticity.
Published by Accent Press.
Find out more about the author and his other work at www.charlielaidlawauthor.com