Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Review & Blog Tour: Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan

After surviving three painful miscarriages and a devastating divorce, Anna O'Shea has given up her draining law practice and tried to put the scattered pieces of her life back together. A trip with a girlfriend to the British Isles is part of her healing process, including a quick one day stopover in Ireland on the way home. They have time to visit just one castle. As she is leaving, Anna meets an elderly Irish woman who says that she has been waiting for her. She gives Anna a small wrapped package, which gets tossed unopened into her luggage.

And there the package lies, forgotten. Once home in Massachusetts, Anna falls into a jet lagged sleep, only to be awoken abruptly by the telephone. Her mother is calling to tell her that her only sibling, her brother Patrick, has been in a horrible car accident. He was on his way to New Jersey to pick up his son, Anna's sixteen year old nephew Joseph, who had been arrested.

Eventually Anna is the one who springs the boy from jail. She has always tried to be there for Joseph, just as she always tried to be there for Patrick. She knows first hand the awful pain of child whose father is given to sudden rage. Her father had been volatile and she can see the same trait repeated in her brother.

They arrive home late, too late to visit the hospital. During the night, Joseph has a dream that sends him, almost still dreaming, out to the living room to go through his aunt's baggage. Just as he picks up the mysterious package from Ireland, Anna walks in and assumes the worst. As she angrily grabs at what he holds in his hands, both are sucked into a violent vortex and pulled apart...

When Anna awakens she is on a cold beach, battered and bloody, with a serious wound in her leg. Joseph is nowhere to be found, though she searches with the last of her strength. The people who find her and save her life are kind and generous with what little they have. But as she heals, she begins to realize that she is not in 2009. It is a shock to learn that it is the year 1844 and she is in Ireland. The Ireland of her own ancestors.

At first she is so weak and sick, it takes weeks to recover the strength just to walk. Her focus every day is to find a way to locate Joseph and figure out a way to get back to their own time. But it is impossible not to become entwined in the lives of the Irish people and it is a constant struggle for Anna to maintain a plausible story and refrain from mentioning anything that might color future events. She has no way of knowing if their very presence in the past will change their own future.

Time travel books have a special place in my heart and I am always drawn to them. I remember reading Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder" as a teenager, I think that is where it started. Next came the fantastic novel Time and Again by Jack Finney and I was a convert. Since then, I have been fascinated by the process and the possibilities...or maybe I should say possible repercussions. I liked that Ms. Sheehan's mode of time travel was a dangerous, bloody business. It seems so much more plausible than the fall asleep in one time, wake up in another that is usually used in novels. She even mentions string theory (my Dad would love that)! She knits together the lives of the characters in a subtle but magical way, and presents them with enough drama to draw in any reader. This is an absorbing story that I truly enjoyed.

For more information about Jacqueline Sheehan and her books, please visit her website.

I received this book as part of the TLC Book Tour. For a complete list of tour stops, click here.

Now & Then is published by Avon, ISBN 978-0-06-154778-2


brizmus said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful! time travel books also have a special place in my heart.

bermudaonion said...

I can't think of any time travel books that I've read. This one sounds really good, though.

Zibilee said...

I really, really want to read this book and think it sounds great! I am glad that you liked it. Great review, I am going out and grabbing myself a copy. Thanks!

trish said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I'd be interested to know how their presence back in Ireland changed anything, if at all. Kind of like a Sliding Doors thing. :)

Anyway, great review! Thanks for being on the tour!

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About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.