It’s my turn on the Blog Blitz Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor.
About the Author
Catherine Taylor was born and grew up on the island of Guernsey in the British Channel Islands. She is a former journalist, most recently for Dow Jones News and The Wall Street Journal in London. Beyond The Moon is her first novel. She lives in Ealing, London with her husband and two children.
Narrator Bio – Liz May Brice is an English actress. She is known for roles such as the convicted murderer Pat Kerrigan on ITV1’s Bad Girls, and Agent Johnson in Torchwood: Children of Earth.
About the book
A strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War in 1916 with a young woman living in modern-day England a century later, in this haunting literary time travel novel.
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…
The story has a similar nostalgic feel as Somewhere in Time, but with an added twist due to the trauma and mental health issues of the main characters. What connects the two of them is grief and perhaps having difficulty finding someone who understands what they are going through, whether that is in the modern times with Louisa or with Robert during the Great War.
Robert is suffering from what we now know is shell shock, which at the time was a greatly misunderstood and misdiagnosed medical condition. He is distressed by his physical condition and feels immense guilt due to his inability to help his colleagues.
Given the nature and way the two characters meet each other and subsequently have a relationship I would say this expands beyond the genre of historical fiction and into speculative fiction. Of course speculative means you can move the goal posts, create scenarios that defy prior knowledge, logic and definitely the laws of science.
This is a review for the audiobook, however I have also read the ebook – sometimes I find it helpful to experience the writing and the audio version of a book – and I think the narrator does a great job of presenting this story. She really hits the tone when it comes to the taught emotional atmosphere between the two characters.
Buy Beyond the Moon at Audible Uk, Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Authors Direct. Only in the US – Buy at Chirpbooks (Chirp is running a special $3.99 deal only available in the US and Canada for a limited time)
Listening Length – 13 hours and 18 minutes, Author – Catherine Taylor, Narrator – Liz May Brice, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 18 February 2021, Publisher – Catherine Taylor, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English.
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