Author : Catherine Taylor
Published By : The Cameo Press Ltd.
Year Published : 2019
Genre / Tags : Historical Fiction, Time Travel, Fiction, Romance
Formats : Paperback, eBook
# of Pages : 494 pages (Paperback)
In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.
A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.
Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…
Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide – and become one desperate struggle to be together.
Have pretty mixed feelings about this title. First, I’ll start with the good. The quality of writing was very good. The writing style feels polished and elegant, especially during the WW1 sequences. Those sections are told with an enthusiasm and level of detail that could really be felt.
The shifts from the heroine’s time at a mental institution and the hero’s time on the battlefield contrasted in an interesting way. I enjoyed about the first half or so. There is also something about the elegant wholesomeness of this title (barring the love scene, which was pretty chaste compared to many romances) that make me think it could be a great grandma buddyread! Assuming at least one of you has an interest in period pieces or maybe studying WW1 in general.
There are some interesting facets to the love story. I liked Robert’s uncertainty and complex feelings for Louisa around the midway point. Louisa finds an interesting friend in Kerry, who has some snappy dialogue. I just like seeing female friendships given time and space to flower.
Now for the not-so-good.
Around the 65-70% mark, this title started to lose me in a big way. I still saw it through to the end, but didn’t feel as connected. Though the description mentions the love story prominently, I felt like this one didn’t reach the depths that you’d find in a more focused romance novel. So much time (pages upon pages) is devoted to extrapolating on the war.
There are minute, lengthy descriptions of the heroine’s duties as a nurse. The institution segments can also go into extended and nitty-gritty details that distract from important aspects. While it’s fine for this to toe the line in favor of general fiction, there was potential in the romance that I felt wasn’t fully reached.
More time should have been afforded to adding dialogue and inner thoughts between Robert and Louisa, and more flavor to both characters. They often come off as pleasant in a bland way.. I knew something wasn’t hitting quite right when the Kerry/Louisa friendship was making a stronger impression on me than the Robert/Louisa love story.
But to sum it up, if you’ve an enduring interest in WW1, this book is understated as historical fiction. There is a high level of detail in those scenes.
Disclosure : Many thanks to Netgalley for providing an e-ARC of this title. Also note, the full version was released in June and is available for purchase. It’s also (currently) on Kindle Unlimited.
Overall Rating – 6.5/10
Thanks so much for reading my review! Have you read Beyond The Moon and have any thoughts on it? Are you interested in reading it? I appreciate all of your thoughts.
~ Kitty Marie