It's 1993, and for too long, Emma Waits has been living up to her name—waiting. Emma's unrequited heart is focused on Curtis, a young computer scientist with whom she shared a single, unsatisfying, truncated date as a college sophomore. Now in her 20s, Emma is the historical researcher on Curtis's time travel project team. An accident unexpectedly catapults Emma along with Curtis on his intended solo experiment—a journey to the Middle Ages. In her lovesick daydreams, Emma imagined spending her days with Curtis would be idyllic, but time traveling with an indifferent Curtis is proving to be anything but ideal.
Curtis proves to be a real jerk and a half, but at least he had enough foresight to create a fail-safe program that provides incremental progress toward their own day. These fast-forward events cause physical and emotional trauma for the pair, and it becomes unbearable for Emma to remain with Curtis. She boldly separates herself from the man she thought she knew and loved. Determined to discover her true destiny, Emma throws herself into peculiar situations with the likes of Jane Austen and Benjamin Franklin. Impressed by her resilience to withstand life in the past and a newfound ability to openly express her opinions, Emma begins to stand on her own two feet. When Emma and Curtis encounter each other several time periods later, she can confront him with a hard-won objective view.
Emma's story transports the reader into the minds of young people coming of age in the 1990s--their culture, challenges, and ambitions. Immersed in the past, Emma and Curtis are allowed the additional time and perspective they need to become who they are meant to be. Emma, able to assess the true nature of the man she once loved, ultimately finds herself wondering if his heart is still worth winning. Is it possible that sometimes you have to move backward to move forward?
Contains a helpful discussion guide for reading groups.