Beyond The Moon by Catherine Taylor ★★★★★ 🏆 My book choice of the year so far🏆
Published : 26th June 2019
Publisher : Cameo Press Ltd
Format : Kindle, Paperback
Genre : Historical Fiction
In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England.
A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.
A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.
Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…
Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide - and become one desperate struggle to be together.
What a story! Full of love, hope, destiny and a little time travel, this book had me hooked all the way through and I honestly did not want it to end. If this make sit to the big screen I will have front row tickets for sure.
The story begins in Sussex, 1916 with Robert, a lieutenant in World War one who is lying in Coldbrook Hall military hospital, blind through shock of what he has seen and endured on the front line during battle and with a badly injured leg.
The doctor comes inland lets Robert know that he is to have struck rest, no visitors and to give bis body time for his injuries to heal. Attempting to get up to use the facilities Robert has a fall on the way back to bed and ends up calling out for help, no nurses or doctors hear him and he ends up lying there a while, then all of a sudden he hears a woman voice calling back to him, telling him she is coming to help.
Fast foward to 2017, Sussex Louisa is up on the cliff side, heart broken after coming from her grandmothers burial she decides to open up an old bottle of brandy, before long she has finished the entire bottle and falls asleep. when she wakes up it is dark and she can not quite work out where she is, she gets up and feels around, confused but after a rock that slides from her foot and lands in a heap a few minutes later Louisa realises she must have made her way to the edge and she scrambles to get back to safety, she doesn't make it and falls to a ledge below. She wakes up in hospital after being found by the local suicide watch team and she is sectioned for her own safety at a facility near by, Coldbrook Hall.
The story goes back and forth between 1916 Robert at war and 2017 Louisa trapped in a psychiatric facility.
During a smoke break out on the terrace Louisa sneaks off and goes wandering around the abandoned, disused part of the old victorian building, this is where she hears up a small staircase a man calling for help. this is where the beginning of the book catches up with you and upon entering a room Louisa finds herself face to face with Robert, the room, the man everything is perfect as if it was in a normal hospital, apart from the way the man speaks and his old fashioned uniform on then chair.
Louisa visits Robert regularly and soon discovers that she is going back in time every time she goes to Roberts room, the begin to fall in love and Louisa has a huge affect on his recovery, before long Robert gets his sight back and can see her, but no one else can. He is soon shipped back off to war.
I absolutely adored the way this story was written, the detail that you read during the chapters where you are with Robert, out in the cold, fighting the germans is brilliant, you can almost imagine yourself there with him. Louisa manages to go back to 1917 again but this time she realises she is in another body, by the name of Rose, but this time everyone can see her, she has gone back into a life she has lived before, and before long whilst searching for Robert Louisa lives life as Rose, a VAD nurse in France.
This story is a magical love story about fate and always being drawn to your one true love, the other half of you that you always find no matter what life you are living.
Not at any point did I think whilst reading that a part of the story was far fetched or unbelievable, so good did the storytelling flow that it all seemed like a magical story that you could sit and listen to all day long.
This is a must read for me and has now slipped in as my best book of the year so far🏆
Meet the author...
I was born and grew up on the small island of Guernsey, one of the British Channel Islands in the English Channel. My mother was a professional landscape artist, so I grew up in an environment where it was a very normal thing to want to make a living from your art. Which is just as well, because I’m someone who always knew she wanted to be a writer, and if I’d had parents who’d harboured hopes of me becoming a tax accountant or a corporate lawyer, they’d have been sorely disappointed.
I’ve been obsessed with words and books since the day I first learned to read, and grew up on classic children’s authors like Enid Blyton and Edith Nesbit. As I got older I began to gravitate towards love stories with gripping plots, devouring novels like Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Katharine, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice, about clever, independent women caught up in passionate affairs with complex, Byronic men. And equally I loved sweeping epics like The Thorn Birds and Gone With The Wind.
I was also a keen writer myself from an early age, penning copious stories and poems – as well as plays to be performed in the field behind our house, with parts for me and my younger brother and sister, but always with myself in the starring role (of course!).
My love of language developed into an interest in foreign languages, too, and I went on to study French and German at university, then to live and study in Germany for several years after that. Throughout my time at university in both the UK and Germany I studied 1900-1945 European history and culture – a period that fascinates me to this day. I always knew that when I eventually wrote my first novel it would be a novel of historical fiction set during the first half of the twentieth century.
After university I decided I’d like to try making a living from writing as a journalist, and my first job was as a reporter at the local newspaper in Guernsey, writing all about the idiosyncrasies of life on a small island, such as thick fog at the airport stopping flights from the UK getting in, and “ordering” tides – especially low tides when the island’s seafood delicacy, ormers, can be harvested. But I’m more of a big city person and heart, so I never felt truly at home back in Guernsey. And after a few years I moved to London and got a job writing for Dow Jones News and the Wall Street Journal.
As time went on my dream of writing a novel was always there in the background, and I spent what little spare time I had while living and working in London trying to make a start on a book. I must have started at least three different novels over that period. None of them was good enough to be published, but on the positive side, with each book the writing got noticeably better and better. Looking back now, I can see that this time of trial and error was part of a very, very long writing apprenticeship – one that was kind of dispiriting at the time, but vital for me to go through. Then my two children came along – and writing was almost completely off the agenda for several very busy years. Then finally they got a bit older and went off to school.
And it was suddenly make or break time. I was very fortunate in that I didn’t have to go straight back to paid work outside the home, and so I had distraction-free time to take my long-held dream of writing a book seriously. And Beyond The Moon is the result.
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