Love Lost in Time:
A Tale of Love, Death and Redemption
By Cathie Dunn
A tale of love, death and redemption…
Languedoc, south-west France
Madeleine Winters discovers ancient female bones under her kitchen floor. How did the woman end up buried, all alone, in that particular spot in the Cabardès hills?
And why was her back broken?
Septimania, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea
Seventeen-year-old Nanthild must marry Count Bellon of Carcassonne, a Visigoth, as part of his peace agreement with Charlemagne. As a wise-woman, she continues to visit those in need of her help during Bellon’s frequent absences.
But dangers lurk on her journeys…
"The sun. The forest. A faceless man. Earth. Darkness.
Death. I have seen my death…"
In an increasingly Christian world, Lady Nanthild (Hilda), daughter of Milo, the Count of Vaulun, must be careful. If there were even a whispered rumour in the court of Charlemagne, that Hilda, like her late mother before her, was a wise-woman then her fate would be sealed, for the Christians preached that such women were in league with the Devil. But that was not the only thing that Hilda feared. Her beloved father has arranged for her to marry. Hilda could not deny that it was a good match. Lord Bellon, a Visigoth, would soon be named the new Count of Carcassonne, which would make Hilda a future Countess. However, Hilda knew next to nothing about her would-be husband, and she feared if Bellon ever found out about her healing gifts, he would not be merciful.
Madeleine Winters did not know just how devious her mother could be, until now. But there was no mistaking what the Notaire had said. If Madeleine wanted to inherit her mother's estate, then she had to stay in her mother's house in Languedoc, south-west France, for one year. Why did her mother insist on making her daughter's life an absolute misery, even after death? Madeleine's life was in York, England. However, her mother had left her with no choice. Madeleine would stay and renovate the house so she could sell it when the year was up.
As Madeleine began the arduous job of renovating her mother's house and make it appealing to the 21st Century property market, the oddest of things started to happen. First, it was the hint of lavender in the air, and then the building shook, and Madeleine was sure she could hear a woman's voice. This house, it seemed, had a secret and it was one it was desperate to share.
From the richness of Charlemagne's court and the regret of a daughter, as she stands over her mother's grave, to the realisation of an enemy and a skeleton under the kitchen floor, Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death and Redemption by Cathie Dunn is the unforgettable story that traverses two very different times.
With a keen sense of verse and a narrative that is as compelling as it is delectable, Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death and Redemption captured my imagination in the very first chapter and swept me away into a world of war, love, death, loss, and eventually peace and acceptance. This is a story of two especially strong women who are connected through time and place. It is a tale of two very different worlds with different values. It is a story that is difficult to put down and one that is impossible to forget.
Oh, this book had all the feels. It is, on the one hand, a fabulous modern-day paranormal story set in beautiful Languedoc. It is also an account of one very noble husband and wife, whose loyalty to Charles the Great was indisputable, and their commitment to each other was absolute. Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death and Redemption made me laugh, and it made me cry. It made me gasp with horror, and it made me smile with pleasure. Dunn has penned a very bold and ambitious book, and yet, she has scrumptiously balanced the two eras and made both periods utterly compelling.
Dunn has captured the essence of what it must have been like in Charlemagne's kingdoms during this time. Dunn's attention to the historical detail has to be commended. The historical setting in this book has been meticulously researched — it really felt like I had been transported back to the 8th Century. Likewise, modern-day France has also been elegantly depicted. Writing with this level of authority gave this book not only a great deal of elegance but also integrity.
Dunn has penned two remarkable heroines. I adored them both. Hilda is a woman of her time, but she is also a very intelligent, very caring lady who is gifted in the art of healing. Hilda also has a shrewd head when it comes to politics. Thankfully, Hilda is fortunate in her husband, and he allows her more freedom, in both her opinions and actions, than other men of the era would. Bellon and Hilda's romance is very sweet, very romantic. I can understand why Hilda falls for him as hard as she does. Their relationship was beautiful to behold, and one I very much enjoyed reading about.
Likewise, I thought Madeleine was fabulously portrayed. Her journey to finding out who she is, who her father was, and where she actually came from was fascinating, and her budding romantic relationship with Léon Cabrol also kept me enthralled. Madeleine's connection with the ghostly presence was not of the terrifying kind, but it was instead, one soul trying to help the other find peace. I thought the narrative for this was particularly beautiful and very well thought-out and executed. Kudos, Ms Dunn.
Dunn has composed a really rather wonderful book, and it is undoubtedly one that a reader can happily lose themselves in for a couple of hours. Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death and Redemption is a real treat for lovers of quality time-slip fiction.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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Love Lost in Time
Cathie writes historical fiction & romance.
On and off, she’s been writing for over twenty years. In 2008/09, she took courses online in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, with a focus on novel writing, which she now teaches in south-west France. She loves researching for her stories, delving into history books and visiting castles and historic sites.
Cathie is currently working on two novels: the sequel to Dark Deceit; and the first case in the Loup de Foix Mysteries, a series of historical murder mysteries set in the early 13th century around Carcassonne in south-west France. Her books have garnered praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.
After many years in Scotland, Cathie now lives in south-west France with her husband, two cats and a dog.