The book description appealed to me with elements of time travel, a war setting and being compared to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, lovers of Kate Morton and Ken Follett. It’s not the blockbuster book I thought it may be in comparison with the aforementioned illustrious authors.
That being said, I didn’t put it down and I did enjoy the story line. We have Louisa Casson in the year 2017, grieving the loss of her grandmother, basically her only family. She falls near a cliff in South Downs and is immediately suspected of suicidal tendencies.
Louisa is “voluntarily” committed to Coldbrook Hall, a mental institution where conditions are beyond horrific. Some of the descriptions put me in mind of the book Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly where mental health facilities are a focus. The appalling treatment of patients who genuinely suffer from a mental health issue was sad to read. Long story short on Louisa – she wanders about into an old section of the “hospital” that is set for demolition and meets a soldier from WW I.
Enter 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett who is recovering in the same hospital, except it’s 1916 and Coldbrook Hall is a military hospital. I suppose this is where the Outlander comparison comes from. The descriptions of battlefields and the lack of cleanliness and knowledge about germs from WW I was very well written. No sugar coating on those chapters. Well done there.
Most of the setting is in England but there are chapters in France as well.
I’m a sucker for time travel books so if that’s not your thing, you may not like this book. It’s an interesting mixture of historical fiction, mystery and romance. I’m not much of romance reader but I certainly don’t mind the romantic interest to arise in the story line. I just don’t want it to be the main focus.
Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday