I think I might just have mentioned before how impressed I am by the wonderful books and authors being brought to the reading public by Choc Lit. This was one novel that I allowed to sit unread on my Kindle for far too long. It had every element I love in a book, the historical setting, the strong heroine, the dual time narrative with both strands holding their own, a touch of the supernatural… you can tell I loved it, can’t you?
Melissa is a genealogist by profession, but also a single mother struggling with the realities of life. Her great aunt Dorothy offers her a lifeline, but once at the ancestral home of Ashleigh Manor she begins to have the feeling that all is not as it should be. In time, she encounters the ghost of a 15th century knight, the wonderful Sir Roger, who needs her help to find peace. So begins the parallel story of Sibell and her attempts to find happiness. The story moves effortlessly between the worlds of Sibell and Melissa: the echoes of the past and its characters in the present day are both uncomfortable and unsettling, and so very well done.
This is a satisfying love story in both periods, and I have to say I think I’ve found an author who has accomplished this difficult art of “time slip” writing to a standard that puts her in competition with several of my former favourites like Susanna Kearsley, Barbara Erskine and Rachel Hore. If you enjoyed their books, you’ll certainly love this one. Melissa’s genealogy keeps the book “real” amid all the ghostly happenings – it would have been so easy for a tale like this to slip over the edge into silliness, but this is an author in firm control of her material, and with a fantastically readable style.
I loved it – and I can think of a number of reading friends who’d love it too. And at £1.97 for Kindle at the moment (check before buying) this is one I’d really recommend getting your hands on.