Poston, Ashley. The Seven Year Slip. Berkley, 2023. 352 pp. ISBN 9780593336502 $17.00
What makes this truly a fantasy novel? A fantastic rent-free apartment in NYC! This modern magical realism romance is filled with love of art, travel, books, and food, set alongside a messy on-the-cusp-of-thirty career crisis. Clementine has inherited a magical apartment from her beloved aunt and travel companion. Occasionally, when she enters the apartment, instead of her unpacked boxes, her aunt’s peacock chair is back in it’s corner, and the apartment has slipped seven years into the past. One day when Clementine comes home, there’s a handsome, tattooed, stranger there, the son of her aunt’s friend who was granted use of the apartment while Analea is in Europe with her niece. A dishwasher and aspiring chef who wants to make memories with food in a warm, cozy restaurant of his own one day, Iwan charms Clementine with pie and nickname for her (both lemon).
In the present timeline, Clementine is now a book publicist, potentially up for a promotion that will alter her life–or possibly leave her with NO life apart from her work. She discovers that the celebrity chef author her imprint is trying to acquire is none other than Iwan, but he is greatly greatly changed, going by James and making fussy food that is nearly impossible for home cooks to recreate. James creates a cooking challenge to help narrow down his choice of publishers, and they reconnect. He’s hurt from their relationship, but his past hurt is not in Clementine’s timeline yet, and their reconciliation is delicate as a mereguine.
In addition to the past/present timeline, the mystery shrouding Aunt Analea’s death and the relationship she had that could not withstand a literal test of time is brilliantly juxtaposed with the burgeoning relationship between Clementine and Iwan. Supporting characters are diverse and richly constructed. The narrative is witty, lusciously detailed, warm, raw, honest and unputdownable. I read it TWICE. Truly, every word Ashley Poston writes is luminous. Like The Dead Romantics, The Seven Year Slip involves supernatural elements and lots of poignant longing; the appearance from the protagonists from The Dead Romantics is icing on the cake–or the whipped cream topping a slice of pie.
I received a free, advance reader’s review copy of #TheSevenYearSlip from #NetGalley.