Those of you who are regulars to my blog post will know that I love novels which are written with a dual timeline. So here are a few I have read recently:
A Week In Paris - Rachel Hore
I'm a big fan on Rachel Hore so was delighted to download this one onto my Kindle.
As the name indicates this is set in Paris. The timelines are 1961 and in the run up and during World War II.
In 1961 Faye is visiting Paris as a violinist in a concert tour. Fay’s mother, Kitty is in a home and Fay is at first reluctant to leave her mother, if only for a week, but is assured that her mother is well enough for her to leave her. Another reason for her to visit Paris is that she has found an ancient rucksack with an address in Paris in a trunk in her mother’s home.
Intrigued Fay decides to investigate and this introduces the timeline of a young woman living in Paris in the run up to war and in a country which is being overrun by the enemy.
If I’m honest I’d say that I enjoyed the story set in the war more than that of the early 1960’s and could have quite happily read that story alone but I still enjoyed the novel greatly and was genuinely afraid for a woman living in occupied France. Rachel Hore certainly brought this period of history to life in this book.
The Dandelion Years - Erica James
Another of my favourite authors is Erica James. I love the way she examines the relationships between her characters – you can’t help fall in love with most of the characters she writes about and that, for me, gives her books real page turning quality.
I also love the fact that she sets most of her books around the area where I grew up, which often gives her books an extra likeability for me.
The Dandelion Years is a bit different as it is set both in Suffolk and in the famous Bletchley Park. It also switches between the present day and 1943/44.
In the present we see Saskia living in a beautiful house called Ashcombe, with her father and two grandfathers. Saskia and her family have had to overcome a dramatic trauma and over the years it has led them to band together for support, to the extent that they live rather insular existences.
Saskia’s father is a bookseller and Saskia restores old books. It is through this that she finds an old notebook in a family bible. The diary tells the story of Jacob a Russian Jewish immigrant working at Bletchley during the war and the woman he falls in love with, Kitty, who is from an aristocratic British family.
Weaved in between this story of the past is the relationship which develops between Saskia and Matthew – a young man who has inherited a mausoleum of a house from a man for whom his mother used to keep house.
Sometimes within dual timelines like this you find yourself becoming more involved with one or the other story, but both stories here were fascinating and worked really well together.
There are tragedies in both but each party learns from them. A truly satisfying read.