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Review: If I Could Turn Back Time By Nicola Doherty

Review: If I Could Turn Back Time By Nicola DohertyIf I Could Turn Back Time on October 24th 2013
Pages: 352

What if you found The One, then lost him again? Or not so much lost him as became the neurotic, needy girlfriend from hell. The girl who tried to make him choose between her and his job, and got seriously paranoid about his relationship with his best female friend... Zoe knows she doesn't deserve another chance with David. But if there's the tiniest possibility of making things right, she'll snatch it. Even if it means breaking the laws of physics to do so...


If I Could Turn Back Time follows the story of Zoe Kennedy as she desperately tries to repair her relationship with the love of her life, David. It’s nearing Christmas and Zoe is still miserable about her break up with perfect David which happened back in September. Then, after one wild night out, she wakes up in David’s bed. Six months in the past. After the initial shock, Zoe realises that this is perfect. She’s been given the opportunity to redo her relationship with David without becoming the neurotic and jealous girlfriend that he broke up with. She knows exactly what’s going to happen in the future so she can fix the past and correct all her past mistakes when it comes to boyfriends, friends and work. However, Zoe realises that time travel might not be all it’s cracked up to be.


If I Could Turn Back Time tells the story that pretty much everybody has dreamed about. I can’t think of anyone who has never wished that they could just turn back the clock and make everything right. This story is unique because it explores an idea everyone thinks about: turning back time, but then it turns it on its head and portrays it in a negative way. I thought that this book was going to be your standard chick-it, good and entertaining, but nothing original; however, this book seems to advocate the saying ‘what will be will be’ and I actually think I’ve learnt a thing or two about how to go about life. How many books within the chick-lit genre can you say that about?


Zoe is a really easy character to relate to. This story is downright hilarious at times and that’s all down to Zoe’s narrative. She cocks up loads and seems to bullshit her way through a lot of life but there’s something very real about her. The story is written from Zoe’s point of view which is perfect for seeing how Zoe’s state of mind changes throughout the book. Her character really develops and the reader grows to like Zoe more and more as you read on and Zoe figures out what and who she really wants in life. The novel gets off to a slow start and I think that’s because you just want to hit Zoe over the head with a book – this book. She starts off as a rather whiny young woman who’s willing to change herself for a guy, but she turns into someone who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants and can be honest with herself so you end up wanting to be her.


Although Doherty plants several different possible scenarios for an ending in your mind at the very beginning of the novel, it’s not particularly clear which one of them she’s going to follow which keeps you on your toes throughout. This story isn’t just about finding love, it’s also about friendship, work and, most importantly, life. This story is probably so successful because it’s not 100% focussed on a woman chasing a man, there’s more depth to it than that.


The time travel aspect is an interesting thing to examine in this novel. It plays quite a big role in the novel at the beginning, but as the story unfolds it becomes a smaller and smaller part of it and I liked this. Although the initial premise of the story is completely unrealistic, the main body of it isn’t. I tore through this book in one sitting because once the story really gets going, you just can’t wait to find out more about Zoe and her antics in the ‘past’. The middle section of the novel really is fantastic, making this one of the best pieces of chick-lit I’ve ever read; however, towards the end it all started to go a bit downhill.


I think I’m actually beginning to hate the ending of novels. All novels. If I Could Turn Back Time was so good and then in the last fifty pages or so, it got a bit too clichéd and weird. A lot of things about the ending don’t particularly add up in my opinion and I’m a little confused. The time travel aspect was always going to be a little difficult to explain in a story that is so obviously rooted in the real world and unfortunately I don’t think the author really succeeded in weaving a credible explanation.


All in all, I was seriously impressed by If I Could Turn Back Time, which completely blew my expectations out of the water. This is a brilliant piece of fiction that looks like it might be your standard sappy romance, but it turns out to be an important life lesson. I would highly recommend this to fans of the chick-lit and romance genre, particularly those that are beginning to lose faith in it because Nicola Doherty will restore it. It’s a shame that the ending let this book down, but everything leading up to those last few pages is fantastic so give this book a shot.


Many thanks to Fran at Headline for providing me with a review copy.

Buy If I Could Turn Back Time:

Amazon | Book Despository

If you liked this post, check out these:

The List Book Review – Joanna Boluri
Shopaholic to the Rescue Book Review – Sophie Kinsella
I’ve Got Your Number Book Review – Sophie Kinsella 
The Break Book Review – Marian Keyes
Wild Book Review – Cheryl Strayed

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

Find me on: Web | Twitter



  1. Alex Sharrock
    12th April 2014 / 5:48 PM

    I am gonna have to check this out. When I saw the cover for it, I thought it was just gonna be another soppy chick-lit book but by the looks of your review I did not give this enough credit.

    I didn't even realize that this had anything to do with time travel!

    Thanks for sharing this chick and have a great weekend! 🙂 xxx

    • Laura Hartley
      13th April 2014 / 10:26 AM

      I have to admit, that's what I thought too, but I was pleasantly surprised! I mean it's not exactly 'deep' or anything, I just think it's far better than the other chick-lit books out there.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. 15th April 2014 / 12:38 AM

    I saw some really good reviews about this book on Goodreads and reading your review just made me want to read it more! I&#39m not a big fan of chick-lit genre but it&#39s nice to read a few of them from time to time =)

  3. 15th April 2014 / 3:58 AM

    Good review. I like the cover. I don&#39t read to much of this genre.;)

  4. 15th April 2014 / 2:00 PM

    Hmm, this is the first time I&#39ve heard of this one and I love the sound of it. Not a fan of time travel but this book doesn&#39t look like it&#39ll complicate things. Adding it to my TBR list. Great review.

  5. 15th April 2014 / 5:33 PM

    I read Nicola Doherty&#39s debut book and really liked it. I&#39m a little bummed out that neither of her books is available to purchase in paperback in the US through a major retailer.

    I&#39ve been noticing an upswing in the trend with both time travel and trying to win back old lovers. I&#39m enjoying the books but the novelty is beginning to wear off.

    I haven&#39t read the book yet, but it seems sort of sad that a book that started off so amazingly ended in a cliche.

  6. Emma Page
    20th January 2016 / 12:09 PM

    I am not a big reader these days, but this looks like an interesting concept for a book for sure. x

  7. Beth
    20th January 2016 / 2:04 PM

    I don’t read any books anymore since I have had my kids but I am sure when they are grown up I will start to read back again. this book looks interesting

  8. jigsawparenting
    20th January 2016 / 2:48 PM

    Oh I love reading and I think this sounds right up my street thanks for the tip

  9. Working Mum Blog
    20th January 2016 / 3:00 PM

    When I started reading this review I thought to myself that this is not my type of a book. But as I kept reading I think I might actually really like this. As mentioned in my previous comments, I usually prefer biographical and analytical books but the more reviews I am reading the more interested I am getting.

  10. Hungry_Healthy_Happy
    20th January 2016 / 3:42 PM

    This sounds like just my kind of book! I just really need to make more time to read as I think I have only read about 3 books since I finished uni 8 years ago and that’s terrible.

  11. Bex Smith
    20th January 2016 / 3:57 PM

    I read this a little while back and I loved it!

  12. Tori Gabriel
    20th January 2016 / 5:11 PM

    This sounds like my kind of book. I’m going to download it later from the Play store. I’m quite intrigued by the premise and I hope I won’t be disappointed by the ending. I’ve just noticed you’ve reviewed a Sophie Kinsella book recently so I’m off to read that one.

  13. 20th January 2016 / 7:53 PM

    This sounds like the sort of book I would love to read, I am going to be looking for this one x

  14. 20th January 2016 / 8:04 PM

    I have never read or heard of it but Zoe sounds like a fantastic character. I like that she stays real.

  15. Elizabeth
    21st January 2016 / 7:03 AM

    I’m not a chick lit fan, but this does sound like a good read!

  16. kitty kaos
    21st January 2016 / 8:29 AM

    I am not a big fan of chick lit but sounds like you really enjoyed it x

  17. Rachael Phillips
    21st January 2016 / 10:21 AM

    i love your book reviews, the last lot of books i’ve read have been on your recc and i’ve enjoyed all of them x

  18. Teresa Bowen
    21st January 2016 / 11:28 AM

    Reading your reviews is bad for my wallet. Yet another book added to my Amazon wishlist. I love this sort of “what if” concept, Sliding Doors is one of my favourite films and this books sounds as though it has similarities.

  19. 21st January 2016 / 2:21 PM

    Not a fan of chick-lit, but this sounds interesting.

  20. Beautyqueenuk
    21st January 2016 / 3:21 PM

    Not sure whether or not this is for me but a brilliant review x

  21. 21st January 2016 / 3:31 PM

    I’m adding this to my wishlist, I love books with a time travel element in them. Also I have the Cher song stuck in my head after reading your review, so thanks for that…:-/

  22. Helen
    21st January 2016 / 3:33 PM

    I love reading. I often find I enjoy books that teach life lessons and are a little romantic. I have added this to my wishlist. Thank you.

  23. tracey bowden
    21st January 2016 / 5:39 PM

    I’m going to add this to my wishlist it sounds like my kind of book!

  24. Ickle Pickle
    21st January 2016 / 8:19 PM

    This does sound a great book, love your review, thank you 🙂 Kaz x

  25. Hello Beautiful Bear
    21st January 2016 / 10:09 PM

    I’m not a fan of time-travel based books but your review is fab! X

  26. 21st January 2016 / 10:25 PM

    This sounds like a really interesting book, I am going to have to add it to my to read pile (which is getting bigger and bigger) Great review =)

  27. 21st January 2016 / 10:30 PM

    I love reading book reviews so much! This is great! I’d be very interested to pick this book up and have a read of it 🙂 x

  28. 22nd January 2016 / 9:32 AM

    This sounds like my kind of book. Sounds interesting.

  29. Natasha Mairs
    22nd January 2016 / 11:04 AM

    This sounds like a great book, and I love chick lit, but do find some of them very similar , so this one does sound really interesting

  30. Kacie Morgan
    22nd January 2016 / 1:54 PM

    This looks like a good read! I don’t read much but I think I could really get into the storyline.

  31. Laura
    25th January 2016 / 12:00 PM

    This sounds like a great read so will definitely add this to my reading list xxx

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