Tag Archives: timeslip

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NETGALLEY arc The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd #Brainfluffbookreview #TheFirstTimeLaurenPailingDiedbookreview


I requested this one as I am always a sucker for any book that mucks about with time – and was delighted when I was approved…

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too. But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

Strictly speaking this is historical, as the story starts back in the late 1960s, but like many others reading this one, the period covered also deals with my past. So the first question – does Rudd convincingly portray the recent past without holding up the narrative? Yes – she manages to slip in all sorts of little details that I had forgotten, yet were immediately recognised as I encountered them. I didn’t spot any anomalies, either – which, along with the accomplished writing and strong characterisation, helped to pull me completely into the story.

Lauren was well depicted as a small child, which isn’t as easy as Rudd makes it look, which is important, given her age when the first jolt out of time occurs. I was shaken at how Rudd tackles this – Lauren resurfaces into another timestrand where things are slightly different but largely the same. It would have been so easy to make this tediously slow-paced, or not quite convincing – showing slight differences is always harder to achieve than large, dramatic flourishes. But Rudd handles all this with ease, giving us a ringside seat into Lauren’s struggles to come to terms with what is happening to her, as well as allowing us to see how her death has affected her close relatives. As time goes by, we continue to track everyone most hurt by Lauren’s untimely death in a way that had me unable to put down the book.

Meanwhile, I also really liked how the two personalities are merged as Lauren copes in her new timestrand and learns not to mention what went before. However, the question of Peter Stanning and his sudden disappearance slowly emerges throughout all the timelines – and once Lauren realises this, she clings to the mystery of his absence, determined to try to hunt him down…

I’ll be honest – I’m not convinced that this particular plotline is wholly successful. While I liked the idea of Peter’s disappearance running through all the timelines, I felt this was built into a major mystery that was at odds with the final denouement. However, this could well have been deliberate, as the circumstances surrounding what happened to Peter and how that affected both his wife and sons, also added to the poignancy of his death.

While I had been expecting an entertaining read, I was unprepared for the elegance of the writing and plotting, or the excellent characterisation. Highly recommended for fans of timeslip adventures of the sliding doors variety. The ebook arc copy of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.

Review of EBOOK Time’s Echo by Pamela Hartshorne


Himself recommended this book after I’d finally finished ranting about a very unsatisfactory dual narrative, historical thriller than didn’t thrill… Understandably, he was hoping to get me quietly engrossed in a really good book – but would I feel the same way about this novel?

Sometimes the past just won’t let go… York , 1575: Hawise Aske smiles at a stranger in the market, and sets in train a story of time's echoobsession and sibling jealousy, of love and hate and warped desire. Drowned as a witch, Hawise pays a high price for that smile, but for a girl like her in Elizabethan York, there is nowhere to go and nowhere to hide.

Four and a half centuries later, Grace Trewe, who has travelled the world, is trying to outrun the memories of being caught up in the Boxing Day tsunami. Her stay in York is meant to be a brief one. But in York Grace discovers that time can twist and turn in ways she never imagined. Drawn inexorably into Hawise’s life, Grace finds that this time she cannot move on. Will she too be engulfed in the power of the past?

Given that we open this book with Hawise’s drowning, we need to be immediately pulled into Grace’s narrative, or I – for one – would be rapidly putting this onto the Reject pile. But Grace is a far more cagier, elusive character than her Tudor counterpart who very much plunges into situations without weighing up the consequences. She clearly has major issues connected to her experience with the 2004 tsunami and it was an interesting to have a duel narrative with two women who are so very different. Although Grace enjoys cooking for relaxation, she isn’t remotely domesticated, whereas Hawise doesn’t really have any choice. I really enjoyed Hawise and her impulsive warm-heartedness, but one of those decisions ultimately sets her on a course that affects the rest of her life. The timeslip scenes were excellently done, where Grace’s sense of self was constantly challenged and undermined. There was a real feeling of menace as she grapples with Hawise over control of her mind and gets sucked back into her life. Hartshorne is a trained historian and her depiction of York is absolutely wonderful, with the wealth of domestic detail in Hawise’s daily routine completely natural – which is a lot harder to pull off than Hartshorne makes it look.

Seeing both women juxtaposed brought home to me just how limited women’s lives were back in Tudor times. And how dangerous it could be when women stepped outside the perceived norms at that particular time in history, when an obsession with witchcraft was at its height.

After building up such a tense, disturbing atmosphere of creepy wrongness, did Hartshorne manage to create a sufficiently satisfactory ending? Yes. And it was a relief, because I already knew that Hawise’s plotline wasn’t going to end well and by that stage I really cared for her and strongly identified with her plight. But though the circumstances of her death were terrible, the worst bit was the emotional agony she underwent – and which Hartshorne graphically depicted. So, if you’re looking for a really enjoyable, effective timeslip tale full of historical details, then go and track down this book – you won’t be sorry.