“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'”
A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live.
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.
So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.
How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.
How to Stop Time is the first audiobook ever that I completed. I think the narrator, Tom Hollander, had as much to do with it as the story itself because his smooth velvety voice was wonderful to listen to and and made the story interesting and come alive through his different voices.
Tom Hazard tells his life story in How to Stop Time and it’s not one I’ve ever heard before. My god this man has seen it all, lived it all and now I felt like I had the privilige to hear it from someone first hand. This is someone’s intriguing life history that I became privy of, hearing it from him first hand instead of from the history books. It makes all the difference!
Tom Hazard is a man who looks like he’s about 41 but is more than 400 years old in reality. He has a rare condition that makes him visibly age one year for every 15 years that pass. Should we be envious of him though? He has to change locations every 8 years because it would become awkward otherwise and people could remark that he’s not changing, and what about love? If you happen to find love and you know that person will be taken from you, that will inevitably become a burden to bear and I don’t know who suffers most from it in the end.
I was transported into time, even going so far back to a time where witchhunts were real, a time where Tom meets historical characters and can tell first-hand about how it was to meet the icons of that time. Tom doesn’t see his condition as a gift however but he has promised two people to keep on living and so he does. But the secret society has made him promise not to fall in love. The heart can’t stop time either but he’ll have learned a valuable lesson in the end about life and living.
I’m not normally one to read historical reads and I don’t know if I would have appreciated the novel as much if I would have read it but as an audiobook this really was interesting and it just really worked. I’ve decided to rate this novel with 3.5 stars though because even when I liked it so much and I even contemplated a 4 star rating at first, I don’t see myself rereading or listing to this book again in the end, so that’s why I’m settling on the current rating. If historical fiction is your genre however then definitely check it out, you’ll find it very enjoyable.
I listened to this audiobook on BBC Radio4 – Book At Bedtime.