Living in the Past was published on February 14th by Choc Lit, and is a contemporary story with a time slip/travel twist.
Grace Nicholls lost her beloved husband two years ago and is still struggling to cope and come to terms with her loss. Her best friend, Tabitha, has been a huge support, even cajoling her to go on an archaeological dig in Yorkshire, believing it will do her good, where Grace is allocated the unenviable and very mucky task of wet sieving.
Duncan MacDonald is the director of the dig and has a reputation for being grumpy and distant. Despite the initial appearances to the contrary, Duncan believes there was once a Bronze Age settlement in the area and is desperate to find something to prove he’s not a wild goose chase. When one of the older students goes missing and the police arrive, Duncan has a horrible sinking feeling of dejà vu.
This is my introduction to Jane Lovering’s writing and I enjoyed the book very much. It’s a well written time slip story, with short chapters from 2000 BC interspersed throughout the contemporary, present time narrative. The characters are realistic and sympathetic and the author expresses their emotions extremely well, particularly Grace’s conflicted feelings about the trauma of her husband’s illness and subsequent death.
Flashes of humour enhance the drama and romance of the story and a vividly described setting makes it easy to imagine the cold, the mud and basic tent living. The Bronze Age sections with Tor and Lady Hen are brought to life and depicted realistically, giving a real sense of people who lived then, and what their lives could have been like. Very easy to read, with a solid structure, smooth flow and well drawn, interesting characters. It’s a compelling, engaging tale which encompasses the present, the distant and near past.
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 …