Review: A Five-Minute Life by Emma Scott

January 4, 2020 Book Reviews 0

by Emma Scott



Remember us…when I can’t.

Thea Hughes has five minutes to live.

A car accident stole her parents and left her with the second-worst documented case of amnesia in the world. She now has only minutes of experiences, of consciousness, of life…before her memory is wiped clean. The once effervescent artist with a promising future is reduced to scribbling with pens and paper, living an empty, quiet life, three hundred seconds at a time.

Jim Whelan is on autopilot.

A foster kid shuffled around the system since birth, he’s lived his entire life without knowing love…and it’s taken its toll—until he learned to fight back, carry his armor, and keep his head down.

Working as an orderly in the Blue Ridge Sanitarium, deep in Virginia countryside, Jim looked up…and found Thea.

When Thea has the chance to break free of her five-minute prison with a risky, experimental surgery, it could lead them both to an epic love they never thought possible… or one that could require the ultimate sacrifice.


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Imagine your future staring you in the face with so much promise. Nothing could prepare you to encounter an event so life changing you might never recover. For Thea – life consisted of art and all of the beauty that was the inspiration behind the craft. With a loving family by her side, there wasn’t anything in the stars that wasn’t achievable. At least that was the premise before an unavoidable tragedy changed the trajectory of all those hopes and dreams.


When you feel the need to ‘find yourself’, life can lead you on unpredictable paths. With a new job at Blue Ridge, Jim finds that there is more to working that showing up from 9-5. As home to traumatic brain injury patients, Blue Ridge Sanitarium offers Jim a chance to cross paths with a patient that will forever change how he sees his job. In spite of first appearances, Thea seems to be completely normal. The five-minute loop of Thea’s life quickly draws Jim to the conclusion that there is more to this patient than meets the eye.


With years spent on a constant loop inside her head, Thea still finds a way to pull at Jim’s soul. The two seem to form a connection in spite of everyone’s insistence that Thea will never remember Jim. Little rays of light shine through the therapy that Jim tries to sneak into Thea’s routine. It is obvious that Thea can remember far more than the hospital realizes. When a unique set of circumstances present themselves, the door opens to offer Thea a chance to walk back into the land of the living. Will the hope for a different future result in more than Jim and Thea bargained for?


Holy Smokes!! First let me say that Emma Scott has once again tackled a unique storyline that was as different as the stars in the sky. Every page of this book pulls you in with the promise of ‘more’. Jim is defiantly the hero that will leave you desperate to learn more about his character. What can I tell you about Thea? Seeing the world through the lens of Thea’s life was a journey of ups and downs, highs and lows.


Now – there were a few things about the book that pulled my attention from the plot. The story takes place Charlottesville, VA. Then there is precise detail about Jim’s travels through Boones Mill (in Franklin County) to Roanoke, VA. The distance traveled, landmarks, and other places in the area are factual places. When Blue Ridge Sanitarium is presented, it is told to be in Roanoke. In fact – there is an ACTUAL Blue Ridge Sanitarium in CHARLOTTESVILLE which use to be a tuberculosis and mental facility. There are author notes that Blue Ridge is a fictional place, so it completely threw me. Why make such concise notes in the book about towns and distances (saying Boones Mill is 15 min from Roanoke) to fictionalize a REAL institution?? On one hand the inconstancies (Boones Mill is on the edge of Franklin Co and you enter Roanoke at the county line. ROANOKE CITY is 15 min from Boones Mill) could have been solved with a quick Google search if in doubt. Now – why does all this nag at me??? Well – this is where I live. When picturing the layout in my mind, it would drive me bonkers that ‘real’ places were moved to other towns. However – the story was written to sound like Charlottesville and Roanoke were just right down the road from one another. That is definitely not the case.


I found myself sidetracked from the battle of fact and fiction in the story. The tug of war pulled me from the story so much that I had to take a breather and come back to the story a couple of times to get into the groove of the intended mindset for the storyline. The unique ambiance of the novel far outweighs the little things that nagged me as a ‘local’ (and certainly wouldn’t be noticed by others).  With that said – A Five Minute Life is definitely a book that everyone should have in their collection.




About Emma Scott

Emma Scott is a bestselling author of emotional, character-driven romances in which art and love intertwine to heal, and in which love always wins. If you enjoy thoughtful, realistic stories with diverse characters and kind-hearted heroes, you will enjoy my novels.

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