Book review: In Another Life

Julie Christine Johnson This is the debut novel by Julie Christine Johnson but you’d never know it. She handles her subject matter – Cathar history, Languedoc setting – with confidence and has put together a compelling story of love, history and mystery.

Lisa Carrer returns to France, to the place where her husband was killed in a cycling accident, drawn by the comfort of the place and the proximity of her best friend. She is looking to start anew and finish her research into Cathar history. But a strange experience on her first night in her new house is the first of a trail of events which entwine her own life in the present with people from the past, from the actual time in history she is researching.

The story moves along quickly and kept me turning the pages, told in two strands – present day, and 1208. Originally inspired by a holiday in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Johnson explains in her ‘Author’s Note’ at the end of the book, that she has draped “layers of fantasy over a scaffolding of fact”. This worked for me, I have a shallow understanding of the historical period and trusted her storytelling.

It is a love story which involves reincarnation, it is not about time travel. Comparisons to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Audrey Niffeneger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, are misleading. In Another Life reminded me in style of Kate Mosse’s Languedoc trilogy, though the stories are completely different. Both authors clearly love Languedoc and know their Cathar history.

Read my Author Interview with Julie Christine Johnson here.

For other tales of reincarnation, try these book reviews:-
‘Ferney’ by James Long
‘The Lives She Left Behind’ by James Long
‘Citadel’ by Kate Mosse
‘In Another Life’ by Julie Christine Johnson [UK: Sourcebooks Landmark] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
IN ANOTHER LIFE by @JulieChristineJ #bookreview via @SandraDanby

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