Eternal Flame – Book Review
Eternal Flame by Alexa Kang
Genre: Historical Science Fiction
Author Alexa Kang:
In 1944, 18-year-old Edmond Ferris answered the draft and headed to war in France. A chance discovery brought him home to Chicago…in 1989! He’s back in his own room, except a strange girl is living in it. She drives a Japanese car and she listens to Milli Vanilli, a German band.
Is their encounter an error in time or a will of fate?
Find out in this timeless tale of two young people whose love for each other knows no bounds.
This book is a tribute to the Greatest Generation, a celebration of Generation X, and hopefully, a story that will engage the interest of the Millennials to discover the history of WWII.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Often times, when I see certain time periods in novels, I don’t continue reading the synopsis. It isn’t something I’m proud of–I’m trying to broaden my reading–but I usually prefer contemporary stories.
However, I am glad I took a chance on Alexa Kang’s novel.
Most of the novel takes place in 1989, the present day of Julia Olsen’s life. As a 16-year-old high school student, she is just trying to get by. No one in her family, or really, her friends believe she’ll amount to more than she already has. At the beginning of the story, there’s an immense pressure placed on Julia’s life. She’s recently moved, her family pressures her to attend Harvard in the footsteps of her mother, and her quarterback boyfriend just ended things. On top of everything, she has old furniture in her bedroom that was purchased with the home. All she wants is for it to be removed–that is until a strange man appears through it one night.
We meet Edmond Ferris, a WWII soldier who grew up in Julia’s home, and still believes it’s his, until he’s informed that it isn’t 1944, but rather 1989. He’s traveled into the future.
Kang has created this ingenious and fresh idea about two teenagers who fall for one another despite time travel and deciding fate. Both are set in their ways, growing up in drastically different time periods, but find similarities and comfort between each other.
Julia, a once struggling history student, suddenly becomes wrapped up in the history of WWII and learning where Edmond’s life is in present day. Edmond learns about the future and Julia learns about the past as they try together to figure out the portal and what information Edmond can and cannot know when he goes back into the past.
Kang touches upon important information, like women’s rights and the women’s place in the household that have changed from the 40s to the 80s. Issues that aren’t apparent to Julia until Edmond speaks about Julia’s future and what place she’d hold if they could be together in the same time period.
With Julia’s father cooking the meals at home and her mother being a big-shot lawyer in Chicago, Julia never really thought about the adversity her mother had to go through to get her career.
Eternal Flame is a beautiful story about love and loss, the parallels of the universe, and learning the strength to follow what you believe in. It’s between learning healthy compromise and not compromising your beliefs or dreams. And learning that sometimes, the greatest things in your life cannot last a lifetime.
I’d definitely recommend Eternal Flame and look forward to reading more by Alexa Kang. Not only did I read this novel in two sittings, (a break I didn’t want to take), but I finished the book more informed about the 80s, WWII, and my stance on historical fiction–maybe it deserves more than the chance I give it.