★★★★★ A Bend in Time by Anne C. Maxwell is the first book in the Never Without Her trilogy, which follows main characters Elena and Omar as their lives are thrown out of control by terrorism and time travel. Elena has been tasked with infiltrating the bank where Omar serves as CEO, which has been implicated in funding terrorist activity. At no point does she plan on getting involved with such a powerful—and potentially dangerous—man. But Omar, a charismatic and controlling figure, quickly pulls Elena under his spell, as much as she tries to fight it. Not only that, but the research that Elena conducts at the bank seems to indicate that Omar is innocent—and that there’s definitely more to the picture than previously thought. Yet this only marks the beginning of the lovers’ journey, as they are unexpectedly thrown through time by an explosion and must fight their way back to be with each other.
Though at its heart a romance, A Bend in Time is equally an action thriller, with parts of science fiction and magical realism. The story Maxwell tells is quite straightforward—and steamy—until you get about halfway through, and then the kaleidoscope turns and the reader’s view is forced to shift as well. The passages that involve time travel are so well done, and could easily turn into their own tales, if Omar and Elena weren’t so eager to reunite. While we’re never given an explanation for this aspect of the story, Maxwell quite astutely recognizes that we don’t need one. These vignettes allow us to see a different side of her characters, investing us a bit more with each page in the ultimate fate of their romance.