Tuesday, February 2, 2016

In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson

Happy book birthday to Julie Christine Johnson whose debut, In Another Life, hits shelves today! I'm super excited to be taking part in the online book tour for the title and, as such, have two posts for you today. First up is my review of In Another Life. I've also got a post from the author herself going up just after this one, so be sure to hang around and check them both out.

In the year and a half since her husband died, Lia still hasn't recovered. It's not that she expects to get over him, or even that she hopes for that. But after losing her job thanks to an unfinished doctorate, a change of scenery is definitely in order. And so Lia picks up and moves into her friends' home in Languedoc. The open ended trip offers Lia two things - the chance to recover in a place she loves with the people she loves and a chance to finish the research for her doctorate. 

Lia's research on the Cathars hits a bit too close to home, though, when she begins to think there might just be merit to their belief in reincarnation. Especially when she meets and falls for Raoul Arango, a mysterious winemaker who reminds her of her husband. 

Raoul doesn't belong in Lia's time. And neither do two other acquaintances in Lia's life. But how and why they've traveled through the centuries to become entwined in her story is something even they don't know. And so it's up to Lia to figure it out. 

This may be Julie Christine Johnson's debut, but you'd never know it. She writes with an assuredness that makes In Another Life quite an enjoyable adventure!

Lia is sure to capture your heart pretty immediately. When the story begins it's been eighteen months since her husband Gabriel died in a tragic accident. In Languedoc. In spite of that, or because of it, France is still where she feels most comfortable. Plus, it's the heart of Cathar history and she's been understandably unable to focus on finishing her dissertation.

Cathar history is fascinating! I think it's been on the periphery of other things I've read but it's not something I know much about at all. It's a wonderful and somewhat unique element here considering the way Julie Christine Johnson uses it to tell her tale. She weaves that history into the story quite smoothly,  taking the reader back to 1208 with Roaul, Lucas, and Jordi's origins and the crusade against the Cathars. These flashbacks appear intermittently throughout the book, appearing more frequently as Lia learns or begins to suspect more and more about these three men, ramping up the intrigue and suspense.

In Another Life is the kind of romantic and mysterious read that gives you tingles even from the start. You know, that feeling that tells you you're embarking on a fabulous fictional journey.

Rating: 4/5

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