📚 SYNOPSIS 📚
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.
For fans of Diana Gabaldon, Amy Harmon, Beatriz Williams, Kate Quinn, Kristin Hannah, Kate Morton, Susanna Kearsley and Paullina Simons.
*NB This novel contains graphic descriptions of war violence and injuries, as well as profanity and mild sex.
💭 MY THOUGHTS 💭
I was fascinated by the synopsis to this book. And with an opening description like this on Goodreads
“Outlander meets Birdsong in this haunting literary timeslip novel, where a strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War with a young woman living in modern-day England a century later.“
Now isn’t that just intriguing. Ok, let me just say I’ve not watched Outlander but I have heard a lot about it. My experience of watching timeslip programmes is Goodnight, Sweetheart and Quantum Leap. I loved both of these based on the whole time travel aspect. So, when I saw this book I knew I had to read it just to see how the author would deal with it.
Once I picked this book up, I fell into a time slip of my own. I was a 100 pages in before I knew it. It was so wonderfully written it was easy to get lost in the story.
The two main characters are a century apart, so we get to see lots of differences in the eras. And, how things have changed over the years. This is what I like about reading historical fiction, seeing how far we’ve come in all aspects of our lives.
Louisa, is admitted into Coldbrook Hall after the death of her grandmother. The scenes within the psychiatric hospital were very detailed and at times I found it difficult to read. What I found hard was when you realise some of the patients shouldn’t really be there and would be better treated in a different manner.
“Could just being an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital cause delusions”
Despite going through hell Louisa finds positive aspects and makes some friends with the other patients. Kerry is her closest ally and through her she discovers the abandoned wing. This is when Louisa manages to slip into a time portal and stumbles across Robert Lovett. Who is in Coldbrook Hall, which in 1916 was a military hospital.
Maybe the time portal aspect of this story may sound a bit far fetched, but trust me it’s a lovely concept and very enjoyable.
When we read from Robert’s point of view. We get to sense and discover the true horrors and brutalities of the war. The descriptions of the war wounded and battles are very graphic, but I think this forms more of a reality of how it was. There is no point sugar coating and omitting out the true fatalities of war when writing a historical novel.
I flew through this book, it was well written and so easy to read. Plus, I couldn’t wait to find out how Louisa and Robert’s story would develop.
Thank you so much to Catherine for my gifted copy of Beyond The Moon.