Book Title: Time and Regret by M.K. Tod
Category: Adult fiction, 366 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release date: Aug 16, 2016
Content Rating: PG-14 (There is profanity and f-words throughout book, a few explicit sex scenes, and war violence)
When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…
Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.
Time and Regret is a well-written touching story with a dual timeline. Grace Hansen's story takes place in 1991 New York. She is a successful woman who works in marketing for an insurance company and is the mother of two teenage sons and dealing with her recent divorce. She finds a tackle box belonging to her late grandfather in the attic that contains his WWI diaries and a puzzle left for her to solve. This propels her to trace his footsteps by going to all the different towns and places in France where he served.
Time and Regret is also the story of Martin Devlin, Grace's grandfather, who in Feb 1915 enlisted in the war and goes from a young soldier to a grief-stricken hardened colonel after losing most of his friends and platoon on the field. Both stories alternate between chapters and are brought together toward the end as we come to realize that Martin has done something he regrets that he wants his granddaughter to rectify.
I became so immersed in this novel that I read it in two days. I enjoyed both stories but initially found Martin's story somewhat difficult as I felt that I was dropped into the war scenes and strategies and did not have time to get to know the characters. But soon enough, I was racing through the chapters because I was invested and wanted to know how the two stories would merge.
It is a testament to this author's writing skills that she could so easily transition from contemporary life in the sleepy towns of France to that of war-torn France in 1915. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling with Grace as she explored the war memorials in the towns where her grandfather experienced life in a totally different way. On the one hand we have a middle-aged woman at a pivotal point in her life who rediscovers herself and finds love again and on the other hand we have a young soldier living the hellish life month after month of sleeping in muddy trenches with the smell of rotting flesh and the constant sound of shells and gun fire directed at him.
Both stories brought out a variety of emotions in me. The beauty of quiet life in small French towns and the horror of war and the psychological impact it had on the men who fought relentlessly. The mystery of the puzzle that Martin left for Grace added intrigue, adventure and danger. The romance was well done and added spice to Grace's story.
I was so pleased to discover that M.K. Todd is a Canadian author. This is her third novel and I would now love to read her previous books. This book will be listed in my Best Reads of 2016 post. Highly recommended to lovers of historical fiction and women's fiction.
Buy the Book:
You can find it on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk and other Amazon sites as well as Barnes & Noble, IndieBound and Indigo (audio book only).
Disclosure: Thanks to the author and France Book Toursf or sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
Please visit her website and her blog A Writer of History
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5 winners will receive a print copy of this book.