The one thing you can’t beat about good old-fashioned paperback books, is when a friend lends you their copy with the words, “You’ll love this”. It was actually a neighbour of my sister’s who, having read my debut novel, suggested I read her copy of Ferney by James Long. A beautifully crafted novel about the everlasting and enduring love of two people who have met before, many times, and attempt to steer their different lives onto the same path. It’s one of those books that really transports you – Long describes the English countryside with such care, that you almost feel as though you have visited the village of Penselwood. It’s a slow burner, but all the more charming for that. And while it’s not strictly time slip, there is enough history in there to please lovers of historical fiction. It’s a story with a gentle pace that draws you in, however I felt something lacking in the characters. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I suppose some novels are less character driven than others.
I love stumbling across books like Ferney, especially when it has been recommended by someone. So many good books get lost in the crowd, whether it be bad timing or poor marketing. I find the publishing scene is all about the new release now, with massive campaigns creating hype around certain titles. It’s a lot like the music industry – people don’t seem to be encouraged to look through the back catalogues or to search for cult classics, quietly biding their time on a dusty library shelf. That’s why sharing books and sharing recommendations means so much more than being told what to read by the publishing company.
So, being a time slip author myself (my first novel, The Cross Of Santiago is a classic of the genre) I thought I’d create a short-list of my favourite time slip novels, so far…
1. OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon
Obvs! Gabaldon is the queen of time slip and if you haven’t read this novel yet – oh how I envy you! You will be whisked away to the Scottish highlands and introduced to the two steamiest (yep, steamy!) characters in historical fiction, Claire & Jamie.
2. GARGOYLE by Andrew Davidson
This book isn’t really tagged as a time slip novel, but for me it is. This book be slippin’ all over the place! It’s a crazy ride, but well worth the adventure.
3. LABYRINTH by Kate Mosse
Labyrinth was one of the first time slip novels I ever read and I was instantly hooked. Mosse is obsessed (as am I) with France, so if you enjoy French history, this one is for you.
4. THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON by Kate Morton
Morton’s debut novel, this book is a must if you are a fan of Downton Abbey.
5. THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield
A wonderfully gothic tale that explores the life of a famous writer and her dark and secret past. You might want to leave the light on when you go to bed!
Hey I said it was short! Do you have any favourites you’d like to add to the list? It’s hard to find a good time slip novel (that’s why I had to write one!). There is something about the parallel storylines that really intrigue me, both as a reader and a writer and gives time slip an added spark of imagination that, for me, trumps time travel or historical fiction. Book swapping is a lovely way to discover new genres and writers. As a borrower, you feel as though you’ve been let in on a secret and as a lender, you feel a sense of ownership over the author and the work and enjoy the pleasure of sharing a new book with your friends. So I hope my suggestions will whet your appetite for life in the slip lane!