Those Dual Story-Lines

Midnight RoseI recently finished reading Lucinda Riley’s The Midnight Rose, one of those dual timelines or two intersecting timelines, or (what I prefer) a dual story-line.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/879379687)

This got me to thinking about how many such books I have read lately and why these dual story-lines have become so popular, and can they really be considered historical fiction in the truest sense? And how different are these from the traditional plot/subplot?

For those of you who may be wondering what in the world is a dual story-line–it is two stories told in the same book or a story within a story. The stories usually take place in the same setting but with quite a few years (approximately a hundred seems rather popular) separating the two.

The Lake House by Kate Morton was one of the first books I read this year and I just loved it. This one moved back and forth between an unsolved mystery in Cornwall in the early 1900’s and then to a woman who was visiting her grandfather (in Cornwall) in 2003. This woman stumbled upon an abandoned house which had obviously been a rather magnificent house at one time, and decided to use her journalistic skills to solve the mystery of what had happened there almost a hundred years before. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1518062106?book_show_action=false

Then there was The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett. An antique bookseller from North Carolina moves to England and ends up in a familiar quest to prove Shakespeare’s authorship. This book’s dual timeline goes from Hay-on-Wye in 1995 to the time of Shakespeare and is complete with both book and art forgers. Another four star for me.

Two of my favorite authors who write the dual timeline quite well are Susan Meissner and Susanna Kearsley. My most recent reads from these two are: A Fall of Marigolds, (New York in Sept. 1911 and Sept. 2011) and A Desperate Fortune (London and Paris in 1732 and present day).

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These type of books are often listed as historical fiction, but I consider true historical fiction a work that is based on actual events and people. Both The Midnight Rose and The Lake House are totally fictional concerning their characters and events. I don’t enjoy them any less for that, and, of course, they are historical in the way they portray the ways people lived, the clothes they wore, the way they talked, used transportation, etc.

What do you think? What makes a book “historical fiction”? And, do you enjoy dual time-lines? Read any good ones lately?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

 

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I picked up Secrets of a Charmed Life because I have read other books by this author and have always enjoyed them. When I realized it was “another WWII novel”, I almost put it away for another time. Historical fiction is probably my favorite genre, and I have read and enjoyed my share of WWII novels, but lately, there just seems to be a glut of books taking place in this time period in both my reading and my TBR pile of books. However, I’m very glad I decided to go ahead and read this novel. It may be “another WWII novel”, but it has its own charms (sorry!).

The story is told as an older woman looking back and telling her story, for the first time ever, to a student reporter. So, it begins in present day Oxford, but mostly takes place as a flashback to the war and the effect it had on two children who were among the ones evacuated from London to protect them from the coming Blitz.

This is a story of two sisters who are caught up in a war, their separation, and the trials they go through to find each other again. It’s a story of motherhood, sisterhood, forgiveness, and learning to live with and through our mistakes.

It’s a story of history; both personal and worldwide. As one character says of history: “What good is remembering an event if you don’t remember how it made you feel. How it impacted others. How it made them feel. You would learn nothing and neither would anyone else.”

I highly recommend this book by Meissner as well any other book she has written. Check out her other books on her website: susanmeissner.com

 

 

 

 

Look What I Won!

I received an email a few months ago telling me I had won second place in a contest. Okay, I didn’t win the trip to Italy, but I did win a gift basket with food from Italy, but even better–a signed copy of Susan Meissner’s The Girl in the Glass. Due to an unintentional delay of receiving my prize, I was also sent some extra books. New releases from WaterBrook Press. Special thanks to Amy Haddock & WaterBrook Press!

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