Title: Now and Then
Author: Jacqueline Sheehan
Genre: Time travel fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from publicist.
First line: The castle docent led the group along a roped path through a cold room.
Now and Then begins with Anna O’Shea, recently divorced, on a trip to Ireland. After a strange encounter with an old lady outside a castle, she returns home to discover that her brother has been in an accident. He is in critical condition, and his 16-year-old son is in a jail for juveniles, waiting to be bailed out. Anna rushes off to pick up her nephew, Joseph, and bring him back to see his father in the hospital. Unfortunately, Anna and Joseph take a wee detour – into 19th century Ireland.
The two wash up on the shore of Ireland, 70 miles apart. In a time without electronic communication, finding each other proves nearly impossible. Anna is taken in by Tom and Glennis, Irish farmers who have a sideline as smugglers. Joseph tells the people who find him that he is Canadian and he is taken in by Colonel Mitford, an Englishman who hates the Irish people. They experience two very different Irelands: Anna, one of privation and hunger and hard physical labor; Joseph, one of privilege and status. Both of them fall in love, and then must decide whether or not to go back to their own time – if they can figure out how, that is.
Jacqueline Sheehan is a talented writer, and I love the way she puts words together. The characters and plot, however, didn’t grab me until more than halfway through the book. I love time travel novels and I really wanted to love this book, but in the end, I simply liked it. It was a fun read, and the last one third had me hooked and wanting to know how it ended.
What I did love was the Irish history and the contrast between the lives Joseph and Anna led in Ireland. I didn’t care for Joseph’s character a whole lot, but by the end of the book I loved Anna and adored the love affair she embarks on in Ireland.
Other bloggers absolutely loved this book, so if you like historical fiction and time travel fantasy, you should definitely give it a try. It was an enjoyable read. Sheehan is a wonderful writer, and I will be seeking out more of her work.