Readers' Favorite

July 10, 2018

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim ~ A Review

by Donna Huber

Thea Lim has created an emotionally engaging, character-driven story of what one will do for love in her sophomore novel An Ocean of Minutes.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

July 2018; Touchtone; 978-1501192555
audio, ebook, print (320 pages)
literary, science fiction
I saw this book mentioned on another blog and thought it looked promising for the post-apocalyptic book club I attend. Since we were setting our calendar at the July meeting, I was happy to find it at NetGalley.

Once I started reading An Ocean of Minutes, I didn't want to put it down and found myself greedily consuming large chunks of the story each day. I quickly became emotionally invested in what was going on with Polly. I wanted her to have her happy ending.

There is a flu pandemic that is ravaging the world. Treatment is available, to those that can afford it. Time travel is possible, though they can't travel far enough back to stop the spread of the illness. In exchange for health benefits (access to the cure) for loved ones, healthy individuals can sign up to travel to the future as bondservants in order to rebuild the country where 90+% of the population succumbed to the illness. Polly has a needed skill - she can re-upholster furniture, and her boyfriend Frank has just contracted the illness. She signs up to go and due to her needed skills, she is given special status. But things in the future aren't how Polly imagined.

This is not your typical time travel story, but it does have interesting socio-economic implications that I hope to explore with my book club when we read this story in April. Once Polly is transported to the future, the story splits between Polly's time in 1998 and her memories of her life with Frank. I liked that Polly and Frank's relationship unfolds backwards from the 1981 time point that begins the story. The symmetry between Polly traveling forward in time through technology and the reader traveling into the past through memories is somewhat poetic.

I wasn't sure if I liked Polly at first. She was kind of hard to get to know. But just as Frank fell in love with the somewhat emotionally closed off person, so does the reader as her actions speak louder than her words. By the end of the book, I was growing misty-eyed as the magnitude of all that Polly went through for her loved one hit her (and me as the reader). Can you imagine traveling 17 years into the future?

I feel funny saying this was an enjoyable read, as much of what is going on is depressing, but I did really like the story. I'm so happy that my book club is going to read it as I think there is a lot of good stuff for discussion.

Buy An Ocean of Minutes at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


  1. This is not my typical kind of story but, you seem very happy you read it so I might consider trying it. Thanks for sharing.

    Here's my pick --

  2. Sounds frightening! Thanks for sharing...and enjoy. And thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. This does sound like an intriguing story. I'd keep reading.

  4. I like the premise of this novel and will check it out.

  5. I'm sorry but this just isn't calling to me. Not sure why. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  6. It was much more like contemporary fiction than your normal sci-fi/fantasy novel

  7. The opening wasn't too strong but as a whole the novel was really good. It's one of those things where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

  8. This sounds like a great book for those that enjoy the genre.

  9. I do like time travel books and this sounds like it would be intriguing.

  10. As soon as you mentioned time travel, I would ordinarily have switched off at that point, as it is not one of my favourite genres.

    However, the cover art is so amazing, that I just had to keep on reading through the premise and the more I read, the more I liked!

    I'm not saying this is one I am going to be rushing to buy immediately, but it is certainly going to be hovering in the bavkground for further consideration.

    A brilliant choice for a book club debate and maybe very relevant to anyone from the UK, given the current trials and tribulations in the National Health Service!

    Thanks for sharing :)