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The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley Reviewed by Ekta R. Garg of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman --  BookPleasures.com Norm Goldman -- BookPleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, Quebec
Wednesday, May 8, 2024

 

Ekta R. Garg

Reviewer Ekta Garg: Ektahas actively written and edited since 2005 for publications like: ThePortland Physician Scribe; the Portland Home BuildersAssociation home show magazines; ABCDlady; and TheBollywood Ticket. With an MSJ in magazine publishing fromNorthwestern University Ekta also maintains TheWrite Edge- a professional blog for her writing. In additionto her writing and editing, Ekta maintains her position as a“domestic engineer”—housewife—and enjoys being a mother totwo beautiful kids.

View all articles by Ekta R. Garg
Author: Kaliane Bradley

Publisher: Avid ReaderPress

ISBN: 9781668045145

A civil servant discoversthat all is not as it may seem in a pioneer government program thatinvolves time travel and helping historical figures assimilate to the21st century. As the woman begins to make inquiries, she discovers alarger plot at play. Debut Author Kaliane Bradley tackles severalweighty topics and handles all of them with aplomb in her first bookThe Ministry of Time.

In the near future, anunnamed British citizen is in the final round of her interviews for anew position in civil service. She’s risen as high as she can inthe languages department of the Ministry of Defense as a translatorand needs a new paycheck. When the opportunity comes to apply, shejumps at it.


Much to her surprise, shemakes the cut to become what is informally known as a “bridge”for a brand new program in the Ministry of Expatriation: the Britishgovernment has solved the problem of time travel and has retrievedfive “expats” from various centuries in the past to study theeffects of their new tech. Each of the expats will be paired with abridge for a year. The expat and bridge will live together, and thebridge will act as the expat’s guide to the 21st century.

The protagonist bridge isassigned to Commander Graham Gore, a naval officer who was on anexpedition in 1847 to find the Northwest Passage through the ArcticOcean between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Gore is retrievedmoments before he dies on the expedition and experiences anunderstandable shock at being in London in a completely differentcentury. Despite his discomfort, he makes peace with this sudden turnof events and agrees to move into the government-issued home with thebridge.

For the next year, thebridge helps Gore settle into his new century. The livingarrangements prove to be difficult for Gore at first who lived in anage of utmost propriety between men and women. With so many newdiscoveries to be made every day thanks to the bridge, though, hemakes sincere attempts at assimilating into this new world. Thebridge performs her assigned tasks, recording Gore’s reactions andbasic vital signs every day and filing her paperwork like clockworkalong with the other bridges.

Soon, however, the bridgemakes a startling discovery. She and the other bridges have beencollecting reams of data, yet none of it is being taken seriously.When one of the other expats begins experiencing a strange sensationthat all five can only describe as “thereness,” the bridge beginsto wonder whether she and the other bridges really do know what’sgoing on. The science and technology of time travel is wondrousenough, as is the retrieval of people from the past. But where willall this lead eventually? And why does it seem like the Ministry ofExpatriation has hidden motives?

Author Kaliane Bradleyjuggles a variety of serious topics and for the most part does themjustice. She doesn’t hesitate to channel her protagonist’s drywit to comment on British colonialism, racism, and sexism, makingkeen-eyed observations and then leaving them with the reader beforemoving on to the next topic. With the premise of time travel as thebackdrop, Bradley’s deep research into Gore’s original expeditionshines and makes the novel a richer experience.

While the romance betweenthe bridge and Gore may seem inevitable, its unfolding will stillsurprise many readers. Like the best love stories of the 19thcentury, Bradley takes her time in bringing her two characterstogether. Before they do become a couple, she lets readers take ajaunt through London and modern conveniences with a new view ofeverything. 

Bradley doesn’t try tobelabor—or insult—the book with the science and physics behindtime travel. Instead, the protagonist bridge reassures readers thatthey can trust her to tell them the most important part of the story.Clearly, solving one of the biggest mysteries of science isn’t it,which will delight fans of science fiction who want more than the“science” of the genre.

While the revelation ofwhy the protagonist doesn't get a name comes a little too late, theincreasing intimacy of the storytelling may surprise readers and getthem guessing as to the real recipient of the story. The ending staystrue to the genre and to the story world Bradley has created. Forfans of science fiction and those who are thinking of dabbling in thegenre, I recommend readers Bookmark The Ministry of Time by KalianeBradley.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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