Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“After a hundred years, nothing really changes. But he won’t weep anymore, since he’s doing all he can to get closer to his beloved.”
I don’t think any opening I write to this review will do the book justice. I feel like everyone on this blog tour needs to give this author a standing ovation right now! This has been such an unforgettable ride for me, and I’ve been introduced to some of the best characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. A brilliant book, and I’m so honoured to be closing this amazing blog tour with these other awesome book bloggers!
A man wakes up in present-day Alaskan wilderness with no idea who he is, nothing on him save an empty journal with the date 1898 and a mirror. He sees another man hunting nearby, astounded that they look exactly alike except for his own beard. After following this other man home, he witnesses a wife and child that brings forth a rush of memories of his own wife and child, except he’s certain they do not exist in modern times—but from his life in the late 1800s.
After recalling his name is Wyatt, he worms his way into his doppelganger Travis Barlow’s life. Memories become unearthed the more time he spends, making him believe that he’d been frozen after coming to Alaska during the Gold Rush and that Travis is his great-great grandson. Wyatt is certain gold still exists in the area and finding it with Travis will ingratiate himself to the family, especially with Travis’s wife Callie, once Wyatt falls in love. This turns into a dangerous obsession affecting the Barlows and everyone in their small town, since Wyatt can’t be tamed until he also discovers the meaning of why he was able to be preserved on ice for over a century.
Ooh, I liked the opening to this book a lot! Very mysterious and immensely captivating all at once. The author has a very unique way of writing and I couldn’t stop reading! Short snappy sentences built up suspense and intrigue perfectly, descriptions of weather conditions and surroundings even made me feel a chill in the air and the introduction to the main characters simply begged to be explored further. As we move on, we learn more about other characters and the part they play. Already, my mind was trying to make connections, and I was always taken back to that fabulous first chapter. Who was this guy out in the wilderness fighting to survive, without a clue who he was or why he was there? Travis Barlow and his friend, Grayson, were also memorable characters and I was looking forward to seeing the role these two played in the story. A strong opening to the book which well and truly pulled me in!
It’s evident that the nameless character we learn a lot about in those chilly opening scenes has some sort of connection to Trav, and it isn’t long before we can make that unusual connection. This character starts to remember small details from his past, such as his name, Wyatt, and it was interesting to join him in his thought processes as he pieced things together. You can’t help but try and conjure up Wyatt’s backstory and try and understand just why he seems to have forgotten everything. I loved where this was going! The book had so much potential after we learn of this crucial fact, and I couldn’t wait to see where the author took things. The past and present intertwine so perfectly and I loved the historical elements so much it surprised me! The author has done such a great job of making you feel so attached to Wyatt and I couldn’t wait to find out more about this bond that Wyatt and Trav shared.
I enjoyed how we’re told the story from different points of view; Wyatt, then Trav, then Callie – it felt as though each point of view gave the story depth and built up the bigger picture so well. Each character had a unique personality too, and it was clear how the author portrayed each of them. I loved how Wyatt sneaks around, spying on this family he’s got a new obsession with, thinking about his own life and where he’s come from, not to mention the path he needs to travel now to find the answers he most desperately craves. The story just flows so well and there wasn’t a single point where I felt lost or uninterested. There was a real addictive quality in this book that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it was the almost poetic style the author writes in, or just how vivid everything seems! Whatever it was, I loved it all just the same. Absolutely brilliant. Wyatt constantly had my eyes glued to the pages and I found his story incredibly interesting.
“They could be his. They deserve to be his. They just don’t know this yet. But they will. They will.”
We soon learn much more of Wyatt’s ‘time travel’ story and it was completely fascinating to me! An unexpected listener allows Wyatt to explain all, and the words flowed like he ached to say them to someone, anyone who would listen. He’s desperate to find his family, but 150 years into the future from what he once knew meant it was impossible he’d find them… or was it, seeing as he was here, walking and talking like not a day had passed?! This concept was enough to keep me invested in this story until the very end, and if we learn so much this early on, I could only imagine the journey we’d share with Wyatt throughout the rest of the book! The flashes back to 1898 were so involving and I loved how all these extra historical chapters made us learn more about Wyatt and exactly what he wants to discover. The beginning of the story was something I never knew I needed to experience, but I was so glad I did. Phenomenal!
We’re introduced to Wyatt’s demons and find out exactly what he was capable of all those years ago before he lost himself. We also witness the one scene I’d been waiting for for a while; when Wyatt and Trav finally notice one another. Even though the meeting is quick, it’s enough to spark Trav’s curiosity – why do the two of them look so alike? I loved how Trav deals with this and how his mind processed what happened. It was quite the experience for the reader, too! The reader knowing more than a main character does, even for a brief time, is always one of my favourite things in a book, and this was exactly what we experience here. The pair get to know each other without Wyatt telling him the truth of how he’s been frozen in time, and part of me wondered if the truth would ever come out. It was fun to think of all the different possibilities at this point in the book and just how far Wyatt would be able to go before shedding some light on why he’s really in Alaska.
Learning of the Barlow family tree and just how Wyatt was related to Trav’s family was such an interesting concept and I loved finding out more information about these family members, and just exactly where in time we were. I had a theory that Wyatt’s presence would bring Trav and his wife together, even though Wyatt is dealing with losing his own family. He seems to be struggling with the weight he carries on his shoulders and it was sometimes difficult to read about these struggles. The author has made each scene so powerful and fills the words we read with emotion that’s impossible to forget. Each character seems to have their own problems and even at this point, I felt there was still so much to learn. Wyatt begins to depend on drugs to take him back to his family and how he communicates with them was so heartwarming, but perhaps too overwhelming for him at times. The book had quickly become very addictive!
Wyatt is once again transported by drugs to 1898, and we hear such an in depth account of his life and learn more about his motives. The author continued to amaze me with his beautiful story-telling and these scenes from the past in particular were so incredibly captivating. I was so immersed in Wyatt’s story – I seem to love the historical elements in books more and more lately! Every sentence feels so bright and vivid in the mind and it’s so easy to imagine yourself in this time. These scenes from the past also help the reader to put everything they’ve learned together, and different parts of the overall story start to slot into place. As well as the main story line, even the smaller scenes really drew me in – the sign of such a talented writer. I really wanted to learn more about Wyatt’s obsession with gold, and thankfully, I was not disappointed in the slightest in this part of the story! I could not fault any of what I read in this story so far and it will definitely stick in my mind for a while.
“Chase for whatever it is you truly want, and don’t stop until you have it firmly in your grasp.”
The ending of Wyatt’s story left me with a sickening feeling in my stomach but a sense of awe that combined to make me pretty damn speechless! With such a memorable tale fresh in our minds, I had almost forgotten how the story started, and I loved how the gaps before that first chapter were filled in by Wyatt’s memories. I was taken back to how gripping the opening to the book was and questions started popping into my mind about Wyatt’s future in 2020, how he’d cope and just what he’d tell his extended family members, if he was brave enough. Would they welcome him into their family with open arms? Would they even believe a man could be frozen in time and live to tell the tale 150 years later, and is this tale one that should even be told? When out of his heroin induced slumber, I was so gripped and desperate to know the direction he would take with this new life. I wasn’t sure it’d be all plain sailing from here!
I felt like the story had a bit of a fantasy element to it which was just the icing on the cake for me. A life-changing discovery for Wyatt and Trav changes things and I was left wondering just how different things would be for the both of them. The author shows the importance of family, chasing your dreams and accomplishing your goals, but leaves us wondering what happens next when you’ve achieved the things you’ve wanted all your life. With time running out to tell Trav who he really is, and just why the pair have a connection, Wyatt needs to plan the right moment. I was really looking forward to this part of the story. Would Trav believe him? Or would he think he was just as weird or as mad as other people were telling him? I genuinely did not want the story to end and I loved being so involved in their journey. However, at the same time, I was curious about just how the author would end the book!
We learn much more about other characters in the book, and Wyatt and Trav are temporarily placed to one side while we get to grips with what some of the others are going through. I loved how each character wasn’t just there to ‘fill the gap’ – I felt each one had a purpose and their own story to tell which I loved. In particular, Stu finding out more about the death of his son, Bobby, really tugged at my heart, but even so, I was shocked at just how dark this became. There was definitely more to each of these characters’ stories than meets the eye! The author has left nothing unexplored in this book, and I was so grateful that everything was so deep and involving, not just for the characters, but for the readers too. It made the reading experience so memorable! It’s obvious that immense care and attention has been taken in the planning stage of this book and everything works so well in creating the ultimate tale.
We see a side to one character’s life that I had a teeny suspicion would resurface from previous years, and things become darker than ever before. We see death and violence which I couldn’t tear my eyes away from! What else could characters be capable of? It felt as though Wyatt would stop at nothing to get close to what’s left of his family, but is it too late after everything he’s done and experienced? With so little left of the book, time was ticking for him to really get a grasp on what he truly wants and needs in the life he now lives. The author has kept the suspense going consistently right until the end, and I had a desperate desire to see how he concluded things. I don’t know why, but I had incredibly high expectations for the end of the story, and I just knew the author would not let me down!
“Time has no meaning. Birth, death, and everything in between. We are simply in debt, paying for every mistake. You may not realize it, but you are paying for things that haven’t even occurred yet.”
Holy sh*t, what an ending! I can’t begin to describe everything at this point in the book, but what I will say about the grand finale is that it’s one of the best I’ve read! We see actions we never thought could happen and an incredible twist of events that made my jaw drop in both shock and horror. Emotions continue to run high until the very final words, and then we’re given even more to think about. What exactly will the future hold, and will history repeat itself? This book needs so many more than five stars. How on earth can I give this only five stars?! I am truly amazed by the entire story and I’m already so keen to read more books from this author in the future. This book should be read by everyone who enjoys a good thriller or adventure story with a hint of history to glue it together. Perfect!
An absolute masterpiece! The story of one man with an unbelievable secret transforms into some of the darkest pages I’ve ever read. It explores just what love, loss, violence and greed can do to a person whilst transporting you back and forward in time in a whirlwind of an experience. How much talent can one single author have?! Amazing characters, beautifully descriptive and a twist you really don’t see coming… This author is an incredible story-teller with a knack for an unforgettable adventure. I urge everyone to give this one a try!
A huge thanks to the author, Lee Matthew Goldberg, and Emma at Damp Pebbles for my copy of this truly amazing book and my place on the blog tour! You can purchase your copy of The Ancestor on Amazon, available on Kindle and in paperback. Make sure you go and follow the author over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates!