This is Taylor’s debut novel and like my book, the time slip element takes us back to World War 1 in 1916. Louisa is admitted to Coldbrook Hall Psychiatric hospital after an accident in which she is believed to have tried to commit suicide. Whilst there she slips back to her days at a hospital treating wounded soldiers and falls in love with Robert Lovett. Not only must she find a way to remain with him, but she must find him when he is taken prisoner on the Western Front. The detailed descriptions of life in the trenches really brought the horrors of WW1 to life. Taylor has researched this area thoroughly and her vivid writing style allows the reader to experience the cold, muddy, and rat-infested conditions for themselves.
The author’s observations on everyday life during the war add interest and are sometimes surprising, for instance, the fact that West End shows were still running, the attitudes towards women undertaking war work, and the consequences of shell shock for those returning to normal life. I also liked that Louisa finds an ally who believes her story and helps her rather than dismissing her as delusional.
This book contrasts with many time slips in that Louisa is mistaken for a woman from the past and takes on her identity, living her life when it is tragically cut short.
My only reservation with this story is the portrayal of Coldbrook Hall in the present. Louisa is admitted against her will and whilst we know this is entirely possible, I found it unlikely she would be considered suicidal it would be clear to anyone involved that the landslide was a natural occurrence and not a suicide attempt. That aside, the love story element and the historical detail will keep readers turning the pages and if you sign up for the author’s newsletter you get bonus content too.