Title: Asher’s Dilemma
Author: Coleen Kwan
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: steampunk time-travel romance
Asher’s Dilemma is a clever story about the inventor of a time machine who, with some metaphysical intervention, discovers that misuse of his machine has caused the love of his life to cease to exist. He finds himself eight months in the past, trying to convince his earlier self to destroy the machine before the woman they both love disappears and they forget she ever existed. Someone in their future must use the machine to go into the past and erase her. But why would anyone want to do that to such a sweet girl? The answer is shockingly close to home.
The story brings us the most unusual situation of having two versions of the same character, past and present, in one room. They are the same person, but not the same because the future Asher has experienced a world without Minerva. The plot is totally unpredictable and ends up poignantly tied up in accordance with the parameters of time travel. The characters are well drawn and likeable, and the relationships extremely well handled. I found the men’s relationship to each other at the end quite moving.
This novella length story is skilfully written with a bittersweet flavour and a hauntingly beautiful aftertaste caused by one word, sweetling.
5 stars. Highly recommended.