Title: Meadow of Imagination – Book 1 of Til an End Defined by Time
Author: Katie Byron
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Romance
This short, poignant novel shares the story of Rory Tucker and Kat Eddie, two very different women whose lives intersect when Kat takes her two daughters for riding lessons at Rory’s home.
The women form a friendship that is inspired by their mutual loneliness and their admiration for each other, even though both are already in long-term relationships—one straight, the other lesbian. Neither is happy with their marriage, though, and Kat particularly seems to long for her soulmate, the relationship she was meant to be in on a cosmic level. At the start of the book, she admits that she hasn’t found “the one” yet, setting the stage for a longing that seems to ultimately form the focus of the series.
The narration tends to focus on the words and actions of the characters rather than the setting—unless the surroundings affect the characters—infusing this story with a character-centric lens that influences the way events unfold and how readers will perceive them. Details are provided as they become significant, ranging from comments about overflowing dumpsters to the beauty of a meadow that both Rory and Kat enjoy, but the emphasis is undoubtedly on the characters’ emotions and inner lives.
The novel looks at the challenges faced by the “sandwich generation,” those caring for their own children and their aging parents at the same time, trying to juggle careers and marriages with everyday hopes, fears, and dreams for the future. Kat and Rory provide a balanced outlook on life, as Kat is more interested in relationships than her work while Rory is devoted to her horses and living a life that incorporates them on a daily level, no matter how difficult that can be.
The romance can feel inevitable in its pacing, to where the two women come together in the rush of a moment, becoming more than friends after an emotionally-charged encounter rather than a steady build-up of glances, words, or gestures, but this seems to show the ease with which some romances can form, the delicate strength that can be a hallmark of their intimacy.
There can be moments where it feels like the plot is either building up material for the rest of the series or offering glimpses into the characters’ lives and past without any specific intention of exposing everything and connecting all the dots. This can give the story a very realistic feel, but some readers may also feel that questions and concepts are raised without ever completing the character arc involved or answering the questions.
Nicely paced and appropriately diverse, this story explores sensitive topics with tact, tenacity, and heart, allowing the romance to take its course without overlooking the situation and lives that set these women up for such a moment and such a time together. Blending humor with realism, emotional honesty, and sensitivity, the author creates a tale that is thoughtful without feeling slow or uneventful. Readers who enjoy romances that feature ordinary women as the main characters and appreciate a holistic approach to creating relationships will be drawn to this book.
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