In a house full of history and secrets, the past will not stay where it belongs…
Lou has always loved Hill House, the derelict manor on the abandoned land near her home. As a child, the tragic history of its owners, the Mandevilles, inspired her dream to become a history teacher. But in her late twenties, and working in a shop to pay off student debts, life is passing her by.
That changes when a family disaster sends Lou’s life into a downward spiral and she seeks comfort in the ruined corridors of Hill House. The house transforms around her and Lou is transported back to Christmas 1913. Convinced she has been in an accident and is in a coma, Lou immerses herself in her Edwardian dream. With the Mandevilles oblivious to her true identity, Lou becomes their houseguest and befriends the eldest son, Captain Thomas Mandeville, a man she knows is destined to die in the First World War.
Lou feels more at home in the past than the present and when she realises the experience is real she sets out to do everything in her power to save her new friends.
Lou passes between 1913 and 2013, unearthing plots of murder and blackmail, which she must stop no matter the cost.
A Time to Change by Callie Langridge Review
A Delicious Time Travel Novel that Will Leave You Hungry for More
I have to admit, when I picked up A Time to Change by Callie Langridge, I was a little apprehensive. This is a book, so far outside my comfort zone, that I knew I would need to be in the right headspace to give it the attention it deserved.
A time-traveling historical romance novel. If there were ever a list of genres that I tend to steer clear of, those three genres would be pretty close to the top of the list. Not because I dislike them, but because time-traveling conjures up images of Dr Who and Star Trek to me, and historical novels (as a child) made me feel like I was reading a history lesson.
My reading habits were set from a young age, and although my opinions have changed and matured over the years, it seemed my reading habits were stuck in a rut.
I watch time travel shows now and truly love them. I even became a Dr Who fan (later in life than most), and most of my weekends evenings are taken up watching historical documentaries or movies.
But I have stayed in my comfort zone with books. Never testing my boundaries. Until recently.
Last year, I wrote an article about re-discovering my love of books. About an amazing group I had become a part of that had pushed me to read books I would never normally choose and try authors I had never heard of. It was within this group that I was recommended A Time to Change.
They say, never judge a book by its cover, you should also never judge a book by its genre!
Publishers are keen to put books into little tight boxes, mostly because that way they can target an audience they know will love the words written on the page. But what if you have never tried a genre before. Would you ever wander into another section of the bookstore, just to take a look?
Picking up A Time to Change really did change my whole perspective on the genre. But I believe that the effortless writing, beautiful descriptions and palpable emotions drawn from complex characters would have drawn me into anything Callie Langridge could have written. Having finished her first novel, I’m in no doubt that had this author written a novel based on a shopping list, I would have read it cover to cover.
You see, that is what really draws us into a book. Not the genre or the subject, but the writing. A truly talented author can have you read anything they write, regardless of subject.
But I digress. Back to the point of this review.
A Time to Change is a beautifully crafted story based on the central character, Lou. After a truly tragic accident, Lou’s life is thrown into turmoil as she deals with grief and heartache. But a world away, a lifetime away, strangers are working in the background to help her come to terms with the loss. But not in any way she would expect.
As she crosses the boundaries of Hill House, a building that has forever fascinated her, she goes in search of a deep dark space to hide away from the world that seems to have abandoned her. Just a few hours, she hoped, of time and space alone to think. What she finds is so much more. A world that entrances her, encaptures her and holds her emotions hostage.
However, this is where my preconceptions of time travel novels had me turned upside down. Lou doesn’t walk through a wall and instinctively know she has entered a Tardis… There is no moment early on where she suddenly believes she is the new Doctor, sent to the past to correct the future. This story is not as contrived as that. Callie plays with the reader in a much more realistic way.
I would love to say that I raced through this book. That I picked it up one morning and devoured every word, not sleeping or eating until I had finished it. But I didn’t. I took my time with this one. In fact, the book took me over a week to read it, which is unusual for me.
But this was a deliberate act. The way the book is written had me playing out the scenes in my head. I could see, touch and taste the food being prepared in the kitchens of Hill House. I could feel the heat from the fires and watched the dancing of the light from the chandelier in the ballroom. It is a book that is written with such delicious descriptions, that in my mind, I was watching a weekly episode of my favourite period drama.
Each night, I would place the book on my nightstand, close my eyes and savour the episode I had just ‘watched’. I felt anticipation building throughout the day as I clock watched, waiting for the children to go to bed so I could immerse myself in yet another episode.
You fall in love with the characters page by page. You become invested in their lives. As you turn the final page, you find yourself hoping there will be a *Christmas Special* planned so you can return once more to Hill House and become a fly on the wall of this beautiful drama.
There are some books that capture your mind with twists and turns, many that will have you questioning humanity and even those that will change your opinions on current affairs, but it is rare to find a book that will leave you hoping that these people do truly exist. That the love they found, the friendships they built and streets they walked on are more than just those written on the pages and shut away in our imaginations. This is one of those books.
As a debut, this book not only holds its own but sets the bar. I can’t wait to find out what Callie Langridge pulls out of her hat next. For anyone looking for a book that will take you on a journey and leave you wanting more, you couldn’t pick better than this.
A Time to Change is published by: Bombshell Books