Now & Then

Written by Jacqueline Sheehan
Review by Nanette Donohue

Anna’s life is a mess. After multiple miscarriages, her husband has left her for the receptionist at the dentist’s office. Her high-pressure job as a lawyer is unfulfilling, and now her brother has been in a serious car accident and his son Joseph is being held at a juvenile detention center for stealing a car. While Joseph is staying with Anna, he is drawn to a small, paper-wrapped package from Anna’s recent trip to Ireland. When he opens the package, the two are transported back in time to Kinsale in 1844. Both Anna and Joseph wash up on the Irish shore and are rescued by different people—Anna by Glenis, a young mother with a secret double life, and Joseph by Deirdre and Taleen, a mother and daughter with mystical healing powers. Both find that the change in era helps them heal their emotional wounds and learn to love more freely.

One of the perils faced by authors of timeslip novels is helping their character fit in to the time period without coming across as an anachronism. Sheehan handles her modern characters effectively, and their interactions with the Irish characters seem very natural. While there are plenty of darker themes here—including fidelity, child abuse, infertility, and fear of abandonment—the overall tone is surprisingly light. This is a character-driven book, so Sheehan doesn’t delve deeply into the history of the era, but the historical facts presented ring true. Now & Then is enjoyable and thoughtfully written, and readers of light, romantic timeslip novels will appreciate its charm.