Time’s Undoing by Cheryl A. Head

Read Time:3 Minute, 38 Second

In Time’s Undoing, Robert Lee Harrington, a skilled carpenter, relocates to Alabama with his pregnant wife and young daughter to take on a job opportunity in Birmingham. Although the city is thriving with a flourishing steel industry, it is also a Ku Klux Klan stronghold. Robert is concerned about drawing unwanted attention due to his stylish car and his wife’s fair complexion. Fast forward to 2019, Meghan McKenzie, the youngest journalist at the Detroit Free Press, has grown up hearing stories about her great-grandfather’s unsolved murder. No one knows what truly happened to him, and his body was never found.

Book review of Time’s Undoing

Time’s Undoing by Cheryl A. Head is a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching debut novel that takes the reader on a journey through time and family history to uncover the truth behind a racially motivated tragedy. This novel tells the story of two generations – Robert Lee Harrington in 1929 and his great-granddaughter Meghan McKenzie in 2019.

The story begins with Robert Lee Harrington, a master carpenter who moves to Birmingham with his family to pursue a job opportunity. The city is in its prime and booming with its steel industry, but it is also a stronghold for the Ku Klux Klan. As Robert’s family settles into their new home, he begins to worry about drawing the wrong kind of attention due to his light-skinned wife and flashy car. The story then jumps to present-day, where Meghan, a young journalist, sets out to uncover the truth behind her great-grandfather’s murder, which was never solved.

Cheryl A. Head masterfully intertwines these two timelines to create a captivating narrative that explores the complexities of racism, prejudice, and justice. Through Robert’s story, we get a glimpse of the Jim Crow era and the atrocities that black people faced during that time. On the other hand, Meghan’s investigation reveals the deep-rooted corruption and cover-ups that continue to plague our society.

The author’s personal experience with racism and prejudice adds a layer of authenticity to the story that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged throughout. The characters are well-developed, and their stories are emotionally charged, making the reader empathize with their struggles and triumphs. The relationship between Meghan and her allies, including librarians, community activists, and matriarchs, is heartwarming and shows the power of coming together to fight for a common cause.

One of the most significant takeaways from this novel is how little has changed in our country in the past 90 years, which is a sad realization. The author’s portrayal of the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing fight for racial justice makes this story timely and relevant. It is a powerful reminder of the work that still needs to be done to create a more equitable society.

Final verdict:

Overall, Time’s Undoing is a well-paced, interlaced mystery that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It is a perfect book for anyone who loves stories with precise plotting, memorable characters, and page-turning action. I would give this book five stars and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a compelling and thought-provoking read. It would also make an excellent book club selection, as there is much to discuss regarding the parallels between present-day and 1929 and the cultural differences and changes that have occurred (or not) since then. Cheryl A. Head has written an impressive debut novel that will stay with readers long after they finish reading it.

Our Score


  • Compelling and gripping storyline that keeps the reader engaged and curious about what will happen next.
  • Well-developed characters, particularly Meghan and Robert, that the reader can relate to and empathize with.
  • The book sheds light on important issues such as racial injustice and police brutality, making it both a thought-provoking and relevant read.


  • The back-and-forth between timelines can be confusing at times, making it difficult to keep track of the story.
  • Some parts of the plot feel predictable and clichéd, particularly the romantic subplots.
  • While the book touches on important issues, it may not go deep enough into them to fully explore their complexities.
Time's UndoingPublisher ‏ : ‎ Dutton (February 28, 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593471822
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593471821
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.27 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.27 x 1.27 x 9.3 inches

About Article Author

Marcus Wright

Marcus Wright is an avowed serializer and bibliophile. His perfect weekend plan is a series marathon followed by reading a good book. Optimistic by nature, he is always able to see the bright side of things.
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