The Witch’s Tree by Elena Collins is a marvellous dual timeline novel that completely enthralled me from the start.
The action is set in Somerset in 1682 and present day. Both time periods are linked by an old house in which each main character lives.
The leading ladies lives mirror each other as an invisible thread unites them down the years. Both have known betrayal and sadness.
The house retains an atmosphere down the years which has repelled many until one empathetic soul reaches out across the years.
Powerful And Horrifying
The Memory Keeper Of Kyiv by Erin Litteken is a powerful dual timeline novel that will educate and horrify you, whilst totally consuming you.
The novel is set in 2004 in America and from 1929 into the 1930’s in Ukraine. The reader hears of Stalin’s program of collectivisation and his plans to eliminate the kulaks (so called richer peasants). As a historian I had studied this subject but it seemed even more shocking and horrifying to read about the atrocities in a novel. I think that is because the macrocosm becomes the microcosm as we focus in on a community.
The two time periods are linked by a character and her diary. She has kept her early life a secret due to the fear as Soviet arms are long. Now it is time to share her story.
The losses are immense. The modern reader just cannot comprehend the horrors of the Holodomor as over eight million lost their lives through a man-made starvation program and a reign of terror. We see the will and determination and luck needed to survive in spite of many losses.
Community Care And Compassion
Victory Bells For The Harpers Girls by Rosie Clarke is a marvellous historical novel. It is the sixth book in the Harpers Emporium series but can be read as a stand-alone.
The novel covers the year 1918, a year that everyone hoped would bring the end to the world war. As the book closes on 1918 we see the hope of peace has materialised.
War touches everyone. Many suffered losses. Those who did return often left pieces of themselves on the battlefields of Europe. Many suffered physical wounds – disfigurations were common as it was only with the end of World War I that plastic surgery and reconstructions began. The men who returned whole in body had often left their minds behind. Shell shock or PTSD was not understood. The returning men needed love, care and compassion. Their families witnessed huge personality changes in previously mild-mannered men.
The Mersey Mothers by Sheila Riley is a compelling historical novel set in 1953. It is part of the Reckoners Row series but can be read as a stand-alone.
The novel has a powerful opening that grabbed my attention immediately and kept me questioning and returning, in my mind, to the start throughout. It is set in 1947 before jumping to 1953 but I wanted to know the truth about what had really happened and who had done what?
Reckoners Row is a place of community. We see life happen on a microcosm with love and care juxtaposed against deep-seated rivalries. We witness the effects when a jealousy gets out of hand.
Family is important. Family is not always blood ties but those who love us.
Education is the key to lifting lives out of poverty. We see this as we follow a sixteen year old with her hairdressing apprenticeship.
There is a cold case murder to solve. Is a life innocent? Or guilty? Some folks know more than they are letting on.