I’m not a fan of dual timeline novels; but I read this one for a Facebook group reading challenge, and it wasn’t bad. It’s set in and around the real life ghost village of Tyneham, Dorset, which was requisitioned for use as a firing range in 1943. It was supposed to be returned to the villagers after the war, but the Ministry of Defence have hung on to it, although some of the buildings are now open as museums.
The past timeline of the book, in 1943, revolved around the fictional, unhappily married, Standishes – Sir Albert, the local squire and MP, and his wife Veronica. Infuriatingly, the book referred to her, incorrectly, as “Lady Veronica” rather than as “Lady Standish”: OK, it’s a common mistake, but if people are writing a book then they should do a bit of basic research. The present timeline, in 2018, revolved around holidaymaker Melissa and her new boyfriend, TV historian Guy, who’d seen a photograph of the Standishes and became curious as what had happened to them. Added into the mix was the fact that Guy’s grandma had once been Lady Standish’s maid.
I was hoping to read about the effect of the evacuation of the village on its inhabitants, but there was very little about that. The focus was all on the two couples’ lives and relationships, and the 2018 couple’s search for information about the Standishes. And the far-fetched twist in the tale could be seen coming well before the end. So it wasn’t really what I’d hoped for. However, it wasn’t a bad book, and I quite enjoyed it. Dual timeline books are just not my thing, though, even if they *are* all the rage at the moment!