I had been waiting for quite a while to read this novel by a new author, Julie Christine Johnson, whose blog I have been following for at least four years. In this blog, she discusses her writing, what inspires her, as well as the revision and publishing process. She writes the blog in a spirit of learning which enables her readers to learn with her.
In her debut novel In Another Life, she shares her love of the Southern French region of Languedoc with the same generosity, weaving historical details with romance and fantasy to create a rich story that I just could not put down.
The plot moves from current times back to the 13th century, at a time where Languedoc was inhabited by the Cathars, a Christian group that was considered heretical by the Catholic Church. They had a belief in reincarnation that the author uses to link the activities of present-day protagonistss to the Cathars. This is not about time travel, more like a kind of “time switching”. One of the great mysteries of the book concerns how a man could emerge in the present day fully formed but with memories of ancient times. Thus reincarnation is not about rebirth.
We first meet Lia, the main character, when she is in deep mourning over the accidental death of her husband Gabriel. She returns to Languedoc where she has family roots. She eventually finds solace in reuniting a Cathar family even though it meant she had to renounce her budding love for the man whom she believed was a widower when he goes back to another life.
Johnson, Julie Christine. In Another Life. Sourcebooks Landmark, Napierville, IL, 2016.
Official website: http://www.juliechristinejohnson.com/
http://thebakingbookworm.blogspot.ca/2016/02/review-of-in-another-life-and-interview.html (including interview with author)