Three men are trapped in time. One woman could save them all.
Historian Lia Carrer has finally returned to southern France, determined to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. But instead of finding solace in the region’s quiet hills and medieval ruins, she falls in love with Raoul, a man whose very existence challenges everything she knows about life–and about her husband’s death. As Raoul reveals the story of his past to Lia, she becomes entangled in the echoes of an ancient murder, resulting in a haunting and suspenseful journey that reminds Lia that the dead may not be as far from us as we think. Steeped in the rich history and romantic landscape of rural France, In Another Life is a story of love that conquers time, and the lost loves that haunt us all.
I have to be honest, this was one of those books I snagged from Netgalley mostly because of the cover. It’s lovely, isn’t it? That, coupled with a quick scan of the synopsis including the words “historian” and “ancient murder” and “rural France” had me scrambling for the request button. It sat in my queue for longer than I anticipated, since work on This Dread Road and the two courses I’m taking have pretty much obliterated my free time, but I finally got around to it last week.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Most books are either commercial (meaning they’ll be popular and sell well) or literary (meaning they’ll be discussed in literature classes). This book is both. It has everything people love from time-traveling romances, which are somewhat en vogue, but at the same time prose and subject matter is poignant and elevated. I was entranced within the first few pages, and my interest only grew from there. I am shocked and amazed that this is a debut novel!
Ms. Johnson’s research into medieval French history is evident, but this is not one of those books with a list of prerequisite reading. She manages to present a ton of information in a way that does not feel like a history textbook (although as a historian, I would have been fine with that). I came away from the story interested in learning more about the Cathars, and yearning for more. I hope there’s a sequel!
The reason for a four star rating rather than five: I ended the book still rather confused about what exactly had transpired, vis-à-vis the wandering souls. Were they time travelers? Were they truly reincarnated, as in born as children, or were they given new fully formed bodies? Why are there two Raouls? Are there portals to the past anyone can pass through? Even without really understanding the machinations of all this, though, I came away feeling satisfied and yearning for more.
Recommended for: fans of historical fantasy, time-travel, and romances that don’t necessarily have HFN/HEA endings.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Julie Christine Johnson is the author of the novels In Another Life and The Crows of Beara. Her short stories and essays have appeared in several journals. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and Psychology and a Master’s in International Affairs. A runner, hiker, and wine geek, Julie makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington state with her husband. Visit http://www.juliechristinejohnson.com for more information on Julie’s writing.