The Emancipation of Veronica McAllister – Shawn Inmon


A Time Travel story, taking a dying eighty-year old woman back to the cusp of her adulthood in 1950’s Oregon, for a chance to re-live her life. Would she do things differently?

Main Characters:

Veronica McAllister: The protagonist, a woman who has a lot of regrets in her current life.

Ruthie Miller: Veronica’s childhood pal, with whom in her first life she had a falling-out, and never made up with.

Doris McAllister: Her mother, a formidable matriarch.

Wallace McAllister: The Dad, a genial man, hen-pecked at home, but has his own way of gentle revolution. He was either of the Greatest or the Silent generation, stoic, hard-working.

DJ: A co-worker at Artie’s, he too has a story to tell.

Minor Characters:

Danny Coleman: Her first teenage crush, the “what-if” of her first life.

Christopher Belkins: Her original husband, with whom she had two daughters first time around.



Veronica is dying. She closes her eyes one final time in the hospital, as the cancer takes another life.

She then opens her eyes, and wakes dazed and confused back in her home town of Middle Falls, Oregon in 1958, seventeen years old and full of possibility!

Understandably, Veronica is completely confused as to what is happening, and comes off very strange to those around her. She is an eighty-odd year old woman in a teenager’s body, and all her recent memories are intact. Her memories of her old life come back over time, and she slowly picks up threads of her old life.

Veronica starts out, and even the smallest differences in choices made/not made have big ripples. She is haunted by the fact that whatever she does impacts future Veronica – will she still have her two daughters if she marries someone different? Can she make amends to lost friends? Would making herself independently wealthy bring her happiness? Will her relationships within her own family be different – will the Veronica with an older head help the Veronica with a younger heart?

Will the choices she makes this time round be the right ones? How will she know?

Along the way, she meets forgotten friends, and has adventures and experiences she missed out on first time around. We experience the innocence of late 50’s, Elvis-era America, where it always seemed to be sunny, and through Veronica we can contrast the world now with then, and how some of what would happen was then firmly in the realm of science-fiction.

What I Liked:

  • The premise of the book was excellent – time-travel with a great twist in it.
  • Veronica was very empathetic as a character, and you really want things to work out for her.
  • The world-building was excellent, and the treatment of how Veronica finds her feet in her new old reality is excellent – nothing too schmaltzy or sentimental. The balance was just right.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • It was somewhat slow to start, but gets into a steady rhythm once it does.


This is a nice, easy read. It was my first time reading this author, whom I discovered has a whole series done around this theme, and around various characters in this town.

There is no tension around world-shaking, apocalyptic events that may happen should the wrong decision be made. This is purely an individual tale, and is highly engaging and entertaining. It would make a super holiday read, or one to curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea! Highly recommended!


I received a free copy of the book from BookSirens and the author, in return for an honest and objective review.

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