Do you ever wish you could turn back time?
Grace Nicholls has a few reasons for wanting to turn back the clock … although an archaeological dig at a Bronze Age settlement on the Yorkshire moors is not what she had in mind. But encouraged by her best friend Tabitha, that’s exactly where she finds herself.
Professor Duncan McDonald is the site director and his earnest pursuit of digging up the past makes him appear distant and unreachable. But when a woman on the site goes missing, it seems that his own past might be coming back to haunt him once again.
As they dig deeper, Duncan and Grace get more than they bargained for – and come to realise that the past is much closer than either of them ever imagined …
I was unsure when first starting Living in the Past and began to wonder if I would enjoy this book. However, I preserved and gave it the usual few chapters I allow myself to read, to see if I would like it and if not, it was one of those DNF books for me. I am pleased to say that I did finish it and due to this book being completely different to my usual read actually found myself quite enjoying reading this different genre for a change.
We meet Grace who we learn lost her husband Jamie to cancer two years previously and after a really tough time coming to terms with her bereavement, reluctantly decided to go on an archaeological dig with her friend Tabitha and her partner Millie.
Grace is a teacher and currently on summer break and initially it is Tabitha and Grace that arrive on the site in North Yorkshire with Millie due to follow behind in a week or so. They are assigned jobs with Tabitha in the kitchen or mess area feeding the troops and Grace allocated work on the wet sieves section. Grace is really not keen on being there but her friend Tabitha asks her to stick it out as she thinks it will do her good. Little does she realise what is about to happen.
Millie, Tabitha’s girlfriend then comes out and joins the dig and it transpires that Millie is well respected in the field of archaeology and on Millie joining the camp, Grace realises that the two girls need some privacy and space and she finds herself ending up sharing a tent with Duncan.
Duncan MacDonald is the head of the dig and also a professor at the university. He has bit of a reputation of being a moody man, and not very socialable and often can come across as quite snappy. He also has a bit of a troubled past.
During the course of the dig, a dig member goes missing and the police become involved and Duncan is interviewed. It transpires that the police officer and Duncan have a bit of history. Through this investigation it becomes apparent that Duncan seems to have a bit of a past with the police officer investigating this missing student and Grace comes to learn that another dig member went missing over 15 years ago who happened to also have been his then current girlfriend.
We see the group going through the daily routine of digging certain areas and seeing if there is anything of historical value and Grace not really enjoying herself at all and wanting to go home. We learn that Grace doesn’t really sleep at night as that is when she is left alone with her memories and thoughts and she finds the only comfort she can which is wandering round the site and some days watching the sun rise at the top of the dig overlooking another camp. It is through these late night visits that we realise Grace seems to be able to move between past and present.
Using her senses and the fact that she can move between past and present, she uncovers where Duncan’s girlfriend of 15 years has gone and tries to bring him closure and let him know that it wasn’t his fault. We see a different side to Duncan, a softer and much more caring side buried deep underneath all that mud, dirt and baggy clothes he wears whilst on the site.
As this book wasn’t my usual read, I must admit to thoroughly enjoying it and read this quite quickly on my commute to and from work, taking me just over a week to read), even managing to read at lunchtime on a few occasions. This isn’t bad for me considering I would only be reading for about an hour a day some days. I look forward to seeing what else Jane Lovering has written / will be writing shortly.
About the Author
Jane was born in Devon and now lives in Yorkshire. She has five children, four cats and two dogs of variable sanity. She works in a local supermarket and also teaches creative writing. Jane is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has a first-class honours degree in creative writing.
Jane writes comedies which are often described as ‘quirky’. Her debut, Please don’t stop the music, won the 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year and the Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year Awards from the Romantic Novelists’ Association
Jane’s novels include: Please don’t stop the music, Star Struck, Hubble Bubble, Vampire State of Mind, Falling Apart, How I Wonder What You Are, I Don’t Want to Talk About It, Can’t Buy Me Love and Little Teashop of Horrors and Living in the Past.
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Below is some advance praise from one of Jane Lovering's
other books "Little Teashop of Horrors"
I have read and loved all Jane Lovering’s books and can never get enough of her quirky sense of humour or different, but amazing, heroes. This, however, was probably my favourite of all her books – it is, quite simply, wonderful! Christina Courtenay, Award-Winning Author
I’m a totally unashamed fan of Jane Lovering’s writing. It’s always a teeny bit quirky, romance with perfectly judged humour that has you laughing out loud at times, but often with a surprising edge of darkness. And this book – well, I’m delighted to tell you that it’s up there with her very best … It’s a great story, beautifully written in her own inimitable style, with characters I guarantee you’ll grow to love every bit as much as I did. Highly, highly recommended. Anne at Being Anne.
Little Teashop of Horrors is another winner from Jane Lovering. It's quirky and funny, explores some dark issues and has a proper romantic story at its heart. Jane Lovering really knows how to write a story that will have you wrapped up in the lives of her characters, following them through their problems and cheering on their triumphs. A perfect read to leave you smiling. Joanne, Portobello Book Blog
I have always loved Jane's books - she brings so much humour to them. The humour is still there in this one but it goes a little deeper than usual … I couldn't put it down. In the usual romcom you don't root for the people in the way that I did for these characters … I can honestly say, hand on heart, I've never read a Choc Lit book that I haven't loved! And this one is near the top of that list! Ann, Annie's Book Corner