Now and Then
384 pgs. (author info)
Anna's brother, Patrick, gets into a car accident on his way to pick up his errant son, Joseph. Patrick is now on life support so Anna is volunteered to retrieve Joseph from jail. Later, Anna is awakened by some weird sounds which turn out to be Joseph going through her luggage. This leads to an unexpected trip for them both. In Ireland. 164 years in the past...
Now and Then starts off slowly but soon the voices of the characters take on a life their own and you find yourself transported into the past and lost in the story, just like Joseph and Anna.
The writing is a little formal at first, beautiful, but stilted.
"She did not want to be the dreadful price that the present owners had to endure."
"Time bent and folded like a piece of string looped around a stick."
I think this is done to show how formal Anna has become since her divorce because the language changes as the story progresses. Once Anne and Joseph are transported to Ireland, 164 yrs in the past (interesting #), things start to pick up.
I found the two major characters believable and likable. Joseph, the 16 year-old, crushed by being an outsider at school and pushed away by his single-dad father longs for love and acceptance and is not sure how far he will have to go to find them. Anna, desperately wondering why she is always the one left behind hopes to find herself again and escape from the fog her life has become.
I thoroughly enjoyed Now and Then. Once you're in the story, you're in it till the end. The action is fast, without being rushed, and although parts of story were predictable, you never felt like you had all the answers.
About the Author
Jacqueline Sheehan, Ph.D., is a fiction writer and essayist. She is a New Englander through and through, but spent twenty years living in the western states of Oregon, California, and New Mexico doing a variety of things, including house painting, freelance photography, newspaper writing, roofing, clerking in a health food store, and directing a traveling troupe of high-school puppeteers.
Her first novel, Truth, was published in 2003 by Free Press (Simon & Schuster). Her second novel, Lost & Found, was published in 2007 by Avon (HarperCollins). She has published travel articles (”Winter in Soviet Georgia”), short stories (most recently in the Berkshire Review), and numerous essays and radio pieces. In 2005, she was the editor of the anthology Women Writing in Prison. This anthology is the culmination of eight years of writing workshops sponsored by Voices from Inside, an advocacy group for incarcerated women.
Jacqueline currently offers international writing and yoga retreats and teaches writing at Writers in Progress and Grub Street in Boston. She is working on her next novel that will be published by Avon.
Monday, November 23rd: Stephanie’s Written Word
Monday, November 30th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, December 1st: The Tome Traveller
Jacqueline on the internets
Jacqueline Sheehan's HarperCollins page
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