There was a little cheer and fanfare in this corner of Yorkshire last week when I read that author Jane Lovering had been short-listed in not just one, but TWO categories in the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year awards. The Little Teashop of Horrors – read my review here – is included in the Romantic Comedy category, and Christmas at the Little Village School (review here) in the RONA Rose category for shorter romantic novels. Jane has long been one of my favourite authors, and today sees the publication of her latest, Living in the Past, published by Choc Lit and available on all e-book platforms: my thanks to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy. So – one for next year’s awards, maybe? You bet…
Do you ever wish you could turn back time?
Grace Nicholls has a few reasons for wanting to turn back the clock … although an archaeological dig at a Bronze Age settlement on the Yorkshire moors is not what she had in mind. But encouraged by her best friend Tabitha, that’s exactly where she finds herself.
Professor Duncan McDonald is the site director and his earnest pursuit of digging up the past makes him appear distant and unreachable. But when a woman on the site goes missing, it seems that his own past might be coming back to haunt him once again.
As they dig deeper, Duncan and Grace get more than they bargained for – and come to realise that the past is much closer than either of them ever imagined…
It’s always rather a good sign when you find yourself laughing out loud within a few pages of a book’s beginning, as Tabitha contemplates telling her parents about her relationship with Millie: “I’m not sure that they’re going to get the hang of bisexual – they haven’t come to terms with the labradoodle yet”. As always, the author achieves the perfect balance between the wise-cracking of Tabitha, the sparky exchanges between Grace and Duncan, the sharp observation and the immense sadness surrounding Grace and the issues overshadowing Duncan’s life.
The writing is as wonderful as ever, the characters so well drawn, the setting so vivid that you shiver with cold as Grace gets on with her wet-sieving of Bronze Age archaeological remains, mud oozing from every pore. But this is a story with a bit of a difference – the past, both recent and very distant, is indeed closer than any of them imagine – and it’s handled just wonderfully, originally and cleverly done. The blurb doesn’t go into detail, so I won’t either – but this is such a cracking story, with chills, thrills and an edge of danger, and a great story twist that took me entirely by surprise.
I’m only being a bit cagy about the story because I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone – suspend your disbelief, set aside a few uninterrupted hours for the reading, and I hope you’ll love it every bit as much as I did.
About the author