Thank you so much to the publishers, Little Island Books, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Spence and Anthony have been friends for years, but it’s only when he witnesses a classmate die in what looks like a tragic accident at a house party that a flicker in the fabric of time helps Spence ‘see’ Anthony for the first time.
When Spence wakes up to the same day again and sees Clara, the girl who died, alive and well, it’s clear he’s been granted a second chance. And a third. And a fourth…
Caught in a loop, condemned to experience the same 24 hours over and over, Spence tries to prevent the terrible events of the party.
To break the spell he has to re-evaluate everything he previously took for granted and find the courage to call out his own and others complicity in events that marked the life and death of Clara Hart.
I love a good time-loop story. Groundhog Day, Palm Springs and The Map of Tiny Perfect Things are some of my favourites. So, when I saw this time-loop story that dealt with some serious topics, I was interested in giving it a read. Then, given the fact I read this in one sitting, over the course of around 3 hours, I can confidently say The Eternal Return of Clara Hart is an excellent twist on the time-loop trope. It is a gripping, heart-wrenching and eye-opening story that I cannot recommend enough.
Spence has been friends with Anthony for years, but it is only when he see a classmate die in a what seems to be a tragic accident, that Spence ‘sees’ Anthony for the first time. When Spence wakes up to the same day and sees Clara, the girl who died, alive and well, it is clear to Spence that he has been given a second chance. And a third, fourth, fifth…
I loved the characters in this book. They all feel so real and authentic which makes the conflicts between them feel so raw. I loved seeing how both Spence and Clara grow throughout the book and the relationship between them and how that also changes. Just like real life there is the internal dramas which nobody notices because they are so wrapped up in themselves. This is what actually pushes the narrative forward and kept me reading.
Sometimes with time-loop stories it can get quite repetitive. The Eternal Return of Clara Hart manages to not feel repetitive at all. While Spence’s storyline has him reliving the same party over and over again, as readers we don’t see this. We end up at the same party, but we get to see what is going on in different parts of the party and what happens when Spence tries to chance the course of events. I won’t say much more about this but it was so interesting to see how little things had a big effect on the timeline.
This book covers some heavy topics; toxic masculinity, date rape and sexism, amongst other things. These topics are discussed in an excellent and compelling way whilst ensuring the seriousness of these topics comes across to the reader. Louise Finch has certainly written a beautiful and captivating story that is thought-provoking for the reader.
Overall, The Eternal Return of Clara Hart is a fast-paced, beautifully written and thought-provoking book that I feel should be read by all, especially those in high school. It is such an important story with an inspiring message about what may happen if you stay silent.