“Can you think of a really good memory? Perhaps you can see it when you close your eyes. Now, imagine you could take it out and look at it whenever you wanted to!” Turn of the century Brighton. A spark is ignited when wide-eyed Lottie Pye enters Mr Parker’s photographic studio and discovers the new medium that will shape her life, becoming a passion.
2009: Disgraced politician Sir James Hastings has resigned himself to living out his retirement in a secluded Surrey village. He doesn’t react when he learns that the mother who abandoned him as a baby has died at the age of 108: he presumed she had died many years ago. Brought up by his father, a charismatic war-hero turned racing driver, young James, torn between self-blame and longing, eventually dismissed her as the ‘villain’ of his childhood. But, when he inherits her life’s work – a photography collection spanning over six decades - he is forced to confront his past. Assisted by student Jenny Jones, who has recently lost her own mother to cancer, Sir James is persuaded to look at the photographs as if he is seeing through his mother’s eyes. And there he discovers an extraordinary tale of courage and sacrifice.
Hailed by The Bookseller as 'One to Watch', Jane Davis writes thought-provoking page-turners, exploring a diverse range of subjects, from pioneering female photographers to relatives seeking justice for the victims of a fictional disaster. Interested in how people behave under pressure, Jane introduces her characters when they're in highly volatile situations and then, in her words, throws them to the lions. Expect complex relationships, meaty moral dilemmas and a scattering of dark family secrets!
Her first novel, 'Half-Truths and White Lies', won a national award established by Transworld with the aim of finding the next Joanne Harris. Further recognition followed in 2016 with 'An Unknown Woman' being named Writing Magazine's Self-Published Book of the Year as well as being shortlisted in the IAN Awards. In 2019 'Smash all the Windows', won the inaugural Selfies Book Award. Her novel, 'At the Stroke of Nine O'Clock' was featured by The Lady Magazine as one of their favourite books set in the 1950s and was a Historical Novel Society Editor's Choice.
Jane lives in Surrey, in what was originally the ticket office for a Victorian pleasure garden, known locally as 'the gingerbread house'. Her house frequently crops up in her fiction. In fact, she burnt it to the ground in the opening chapter of 'An Unknown Woman'. Her latest release, 'Small Eden', is a fictionalized account of why one man chose to open a small-scale pleasure garden at a time when London's great pleasure gardens were facing bankruptcy.
When she isn't writing, you may spot Jane disappearing up the side of a mountain with a camera in hand.
Find out more about Jane at: Website:jane-davis.co.uk Get a FREEcopy of her time-slip, photography-themed eBook, I Stopped Time, when you signup to her mailing list at jane-davis.co.uk/newsletter
This book was pleasantly different from many of the historical fiction novels I have read recently. It keeps things simple and closes well.
In the current time – Sir James, who is a retired member of parliament learns of his mother’s death. His mother, Lottie Pye, dies at the age of 108. James has not been in touch with her since long, and was raised by his father. He largely has a bitter outlook towards her as she left him and his father, when he was young boy. He receives a large set of boxes, with lots of photographs his mother had clicked. Jenny Jones, an art student, gently prods him to look beyond his preconceived notions and understand his mother through the photos.
There is another track set in 1900s Brighton starting with Lottie as a young girl who lives with foster parents after she is saved during a storm. After meeting with Mr Parker who has a local studio, and encourages her, Lottie takes to modelling and later immerses herself in photography. There is a beautiful passage in the book which mentions how photos have the ability to stop time – you look at them many years hence and can relive the memories. Lottie gets married but is keen to also follow her heart. There is a lot she understands about herself, and runs into very painful choices she has to make. This is also the period when war breaks many close relationships. James, with Jenny’s help is able to piece together much of his mother’s story and realizes there is so much she has gone through and his assumptions about her were simplistic and mostly incorrect. I found myself drawn to the characters of Lottie, James & Jenny. The story moves quite slowly through a lot of the mid-sections though.
Overall, a very well written story, which I recommend for its honesty, simplicity and beautiful convergence at the end.
I’m not typically drawn to historical fiction, but after reading and thoroughly enjoying a more contemporary novel by author Jane Davis (These Fragile Things), I wanted to dig deeper into her catalogue and see what else she had. Given my own interest in photography and its power to “stop time” and tell stories, the premise of this one intrigued me, and I was very well served.
Spanning different eras and places – early twentieth century Brighton through the war years, and up to contemporary life in Surrey – I Stopped Time keeps us moving from one time and place to the other, over and over, until the stories meet and the connections between the characters pull close.
In contemporary times, Sir James Hastings, a retired politician and, clearly, a lonely man, is gifted with a voluminous collection of photographs from his deceased mother, a woman who abandoned him as a child and, he believes, refused contact with him as an adult. Torn between the bitterness and heartache attached to any memory of his mother and his profound curiosity about her gift, he’s finally compelled to explore the stash at the behest of a new young friend, Jenny, an art student with a predilection for photography. Jenny convinces him this trove is not only priceless as art, but as a powerful and illuminating link to his past.
From there we reach back to early 1900s Brighton, where a young girl, Lottie Pye, is saved from a lightening strike to live a humble life of hard work and somewhat rigid expectations, many of which fly in the face of her own bubbling ambitions. When drawn to the studio of a local photographer, she not only learns the craft of photo modeling, but the artform itself, and slowly, over years and much practice, she develops into a gifted photographer of much note.
As these two stories play out, history takes the reader through the wars of the twentieth century, the changing mores and lifestyles of the times, the shifting attitudes about the arts and a woman’s place in them, and overriding cultural perspectives about relationships, family, and what constitutes both. What Sir James discovers about his mother, her life, and the true story of how and why she left him, become revelations that bring full circle the touching and tragic chapters of a remarkable woman.
Author Jane Davis is not only a tremendously gifted writer who has the capacity to pull us into a complex and challenging narrative, she’s one who infuses her work with a deep, sensorial backdrop, creating a tactile sense of time and place, with the visuals, smells, and sounds of the various locations, as well as the disparate looks and vernacular of characters stretched across a century. She expertly makes the transitions from chapter to chapter, and her attention to detail, to the specifics, makes clear how deeply and thoroughly she researched the locations and eras involved, and characters she placed within them. Even reading her interview notes at the end of the book is interesting, as they clarify the people who inspired the story and the type of research she did to honor their narratives.
An emotional and expertly crafted book that beautifully details how the sometimes misunderstood decisions of the past can both haunt and illuminate us in the present, I Stopped Time is a powerful read I highly recommend.
2009 Sir James Hastings finds that his estranged mother has passed away at 108 years old. She left him and his father when he was a baby he felt nothing but contempt for her. Then he teams up with is friend Jenny and they start gathering some facts of her life.
Lottie Pye (James mother) was a modern liberated woman for her time, not the average home-maker/mother. When she passes she has left her prized possession her cherished photography collection, over six decades worth of photos to her only son. This is when James really begins to learn just who his mother was.
A fantastic heart felt story, well written. Ms. Davis was able to switch from past to present so smoothly. You get a good look at how each one (James & Lottie) felt. A great read, one that will stay with me for a long time.
I Stopped Time is generally categorized as historical fiction, women’s literature, and a mystery novel. I’m going to add one more. This books speaks to me as a historical romance. Interestingly enough the two main characters are mother and son so the romance is not between them. The romance is between the mother and another character who has only bits of page time, sprinkled throughout the book. They do get their HEA so that qualifies it as a romance. I will not name the object of her affection as it would be a spoiler. The book begins in current time with the memories of Sir James, a retired member of parliament, who took retirement due to a scandal involving his homosexuality. James’s mother abandoned him to his father when he was a small boy, which leads us to think poorly of his mother, and, since he adores his father, we assume him to be a good and loving man. These characterizations will require rethinking as the book progresses, and may or may not prove to be accurate. The time frame of the story flips back and forth between Edwardian England and the early 21st Century. James’s mother Lottie passes away in 2009 at the age of 108. Although he did not know her, James finds himself the heir to many boxes of Lottie’s photographs, spanning six decades. With the help of a college historical researcher James begins to work his way through his mother’s life and the reason she left this treasure trove to him. Lottie is attracted to photography as a young teenager and becomes a model and then an apprentice to a photographer in her seaside village. This brings her opportunities and scorn. It is the latter that is the platform in the book for the early period of women’s rights. Lottie takes hundreds of pictures and it isn’t until late in the book that we understand that it is not just her pursuit of photography as an art form but something much more personal and profound as it affects her son. The First World War features prominently in the story, from the optimistic, if not truly understood, beginnings to the catastrophic results of the fighting and the aftermath when the surviving soldiers return home, changed men in a changed world. PTSD, a condition without a name at the time, takes its toll as does untreated or poorly treated loss of limbs and other war injuries. Racism is touched upon as we see how even talented and well known non-white people are treated. It is really cringe worthy and sad to realize that we as a society haven’t come as far socially as we have legally. We get many tales of Lottie’s origins and she goes through several names and identities before finding her real starting point in life. This is some of the baggage that Lottie must carry with her as she moves between Brighton and London throughout her 108 years. Rather than ending the story feeling terrible for Lottie and James there is a kind of closure for both of them. Ms. Davis is a great writer in that she can allow her book to stew and bubble, give us a bit of the truth, and then pour out a completely different path for her characters than we expected to that point. I loved this book. It is long and requires time to savor it, but trust me, it is totally worth it to enjoy the many stories along the way. I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical romance or mysteries, or, well, you may want to categorize it yourself. Enjoy!
This book tells the tale of Lottie, a woman who wasn't around through her son's young life. James doesn't know, or want to know, about his absent mother until she dies and he is left a photography collection. Through these photographs he discovers more about her.
I loved the way that Lottie's life unfolded through pictures, a clever (and brave) device which worked fantastically well. It was a real change from the diary with the missing pages which is often used! The ending was perfect, not being a writer, I often think this must be the hardest part as many a promising book falls at this stage. The timing of the revelation of Lottie's story, especially in relation to her son James was perfect.
Being interested in more recent history this book was right up my street and I especially liked the fact that it examined the reality of the women left behind during the First World War. This book deserves to be read by all who enjoy a really good story, well defined characters and detailed research to back it all up! I would especially recommend it to fans of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore.
I was given a pre-publication copy of this book by the author some time ago, and despite reading many books since then, this book is one I have remembered and reflected upon.
I Stopped Time is the story of Lottie and her son James. As a young woman, Lottie left her husband and baby son, and James never knew his mother. After Lottie dies at the ripe old age of 108, she leaves James her photography collection, which documents her life. Through these photographs, James has the chance to find out who his mother really was and why she left him.
I’m not going to give too much away here, except to say that the book is nicely paced and carries you along right to the end. It moves between the early years of Lottie’s life in turn-of-the-century Brighton and WWI London, and the elderly years of James’s life in 2008. It has some ups and downs, and it’s more about the characters discovering themselves than it is a romance or about falling in love with someone else.
The book manages to hold a few surprises and unknowns, despite the time disparity. We may already know that Lottie lives to 108, but how she gets there is still a discovery for the reader. I suppose it helps that it’s a discovery for her son, too.
On a logistical note, the chapters are all clearly marked so you know who is talking and where and when you are. I’ve seen so many questions from writers about how to handle multiple first-person POVs: this is an example of how to do it well. It’s easy for readers to follow, which is really the key when doing this sort of thing.
The only thing I would note about the plot is that Lottie’s story is heavily weighted towards the start of her life. We don’t get much of what happened to her after she left James and his father, and I definitely wanted to know more about it. We do get the most important parts shown to us; I guess I just wanted more!
This is a very character-driven piece, and Davis writes them well. Lottie is a realistic girl and becomes a realistic woman: flawed, immature, maturing, headstrong, uncertain, ignorant, smart, and learning. She feels like a person who might have existed in the world, rather than an idealised version of a woman, or a flat caricature.
She has some of the deep-seated misperceptions about herself that many women have but that you seldom see in fiction: for example, how she has no idea about how to judge her own appearance in terms of beauty, the idle rich confuse her, and she has complicated feelings about sex that evolve in an understandable way through the story. She also has a curious attitude towards duty and happiness: it forces her to leave her family and makes sure she stays gone, but not, perhaps, in the way you would expect. Her love of photography, and in particular how she photographs nude women, is interesting and nuanced.
Her story has an authentic feel to it that I love.
Likewise, James feels like a whole person, though he’s less accessible than Lottie. He starts the book very closed off, and as the story progresses, he slowly opens up: first, with the young woman who is helping him to analyse and understand his mother’s photographs, and through her and her own struggles with family, he opens up towards his now-deceased mother.
His story is more subtle than Lottie’s. He has to work past his resentment and bewilderment towards a mother who abandoned him; in that way, this 80-something man is still a little boy, wanting to know why his mother didn’t love him enough. This creeps out through the narrative in understated ways; some of James’s story is in what he avoids saying or admitting.
His journey is one of my favourite things about the book, especially the note that it ends on. I won’t say what it is, except that the final image of the book is perfectly crafted and entirely appopriate for the story being told. Beautifully done.
Other than the two main characters, there are plenty of rich people populating the story, from lovable Alfie to photography student Jenny. It’s hard not to fall in love with each of them. (Alfie still breaks my heart.)
It’s hard to know what to say about the writing: it was very clean and fairly invisible. I mean this in a good way: the writing didn’t get in the way of the story; it simply carried me along on a smooth ride. The language was lovely and the descriptions were evocative. Lottie’s story felt authentic for its period, and James’s felt like it was in a contemporary English village (which it was).
I don’t have anything particular to point out about the writing here except for the ending: as I mentioned above, the book ends on a wonderful image. It doesn’t bother to flourish or trail off into the distance; it just ends at a good and appropriate stopping-place, and leaves you with a good taste in your mind.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?
Absolutely. It’s nicely written, a touching story, and a pleasant way to spend a few hours. I will warn that those with softer shells will likely cry in a couple of places. It’s worth it, so give it a go.
Life has many twists/turns. Mr. Packham killed his wife at the Marlborough Hotel. Christina Edwards the Chocolate Cream poisoner injected sweets with strychnine. She was declared criminally insane after murdering Sidney Miller.
1910, Brighton, England. Mr. Nathaniel M. Parker (photographer, Parker’s Photographic Studio) was sharing his camera bug history & secrets about his studio to Ms. Lottie Pye (adopted orphan). Felicity was not pleased that Lottie was in his acquaintance. Mr. Parker met with Mr. Sidney Pye (husband/father), & Mrs. Kate Pye (wife/mother) of the Steak & Kidney Pies, to see about photographing their beautiful daughter. 2009, ShereSurrey (village). Sir James Hastings (son, retired recluse) was showing Jenny Jones his family album. 1912, The Sunday Gazette headlines were about Agnes Coin (actress). She had disappeared & new evidence had recently been uncovered.
8/3/1914, Lottie would later become Nathaniel’s apprentice. 1916, Brighton-London, England. John Miller (Voluntary Fire Service) helped Charlotte Lavashay (18, aka Lottie) from an almost disastrous train station mishap. The Daily Express newspaper boys cried out the headlines: German Zeppelins were shot down by the Brits. 1918, London, England. Martha much later tried her best to explain to Charlotte why Mrs. Miller always wears black, & Mr. Miller is seldom seen. Talk of the town Charlotte has been seeing a lot of John. It also seems Mr. Irving & John frequently consult each other about the Miller’s family business ventures. ShereSurrey. 2009, Would Jenny discover more family mystery’s in the Hastings picture album? 1918, Mr. Worth & Mr. Arthur were meeting with Lottie (Mrs. Hastings, nee Ellis) about her entry in the photography contest. Felicity & Harry young lovers were posing at the Brighton Beach. There had been 2 others entries on her behalf also.
Now what, the contest stipulated 1 entry only.
I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review, only an honest one. All thoughts & opinions are entirely my own.
A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very well written dual timeline book. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a great set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great mystery movie, or better yet a mini TV series. 1 book I could not put down. There is no doubt in my mind this is a very easy rating of 5 stars.
Thank you for the free Smashwords; Instafreebie; Author; PDF book Tony Parsons (Washburn)
When Sir James Hastings receives a truckload of mysterious boxes, he is displeased to discover they hold the entirety of his mother’s life in photographs, letters and other mementos. Sir James grew up in the void of his mother’s voluntary absence and never forgave her for it. When he reluctantly agrees to allow a young college student, Jenny, to review the materials for a class project, the two slowly piece together the life of an extraordinary woman.
I Stopped Time is a beautiful and lush novel that twines the personal narratives of Lottie Pye and her son, Sir James, as he discovers her story in the many photographs she left behind.
Lottie was born in 1901, and her life gives voice to the first half of the 20th century. Through her eyes, we watch the slow buildup to “The Great War” and the devastation it wreaks upon an entire generation of young Brits. We also discover the “magic” of photography as a young Lottie Pye wheedles her way into a local photography studio and learns how to stop time behind the lens of a camera.
I Stopped Time is incredibly well-researched and populated with vibrant, believable characters. Lottie is particularly well written as is her son, Sir James as he struggles to relate to a world that is quickly passing him by in the early 21st century. His relationship with Jenny is touching and unique. Lottie’s possessions draw them together, giving James an outlet from his reserved life that he didn’t know he needed.
I Stopped Time plays with many different themes, including the impact of war, class decorum in Britain, homosexuality and the inevitable advance of time. Touching, exciting, romantic and tender, this novel shines in the deft hands of its author. Fans of Downton Abbey and those who want to travel back to the first half of the 20th century will get a great treat in I Stopped Time.
(This book was provided to Compulsion Reads for review by the author.)
From its intriguing title to its perfect closing line (don't cheat and read it first!), this is a compelling story cleverly skipping between two time frames, primarily the story of the mother of a retired MP, but also weaving in the impact her choices made upon his whole life, though he barely knew her.
Things I liked best about this novel:
- fabulous title and cover - well-developed characters, not just the two key roles but lots of bit parts too - feisty heroine - affectionate and evocative descriptions of Edwardian Brighton providing a memorable sense of place, at times cinematic (and what a great film this book would make) - sensitive descriptions of the photographic process and its results - clear depiction of the effect of war on ordinary people - thought-provoking theme of how the development of photography affected ordinary people as well as history's bigger picture - stunning writing, with points of brilliance scattered effortlessly throughout - dignified and fulfilling ending for both key characters
The only things that irked me about the book were a couple of plot points which I couldn't believe (not saying which here, for fear of spoiling the plot for anyone), but the rest of the book was so masterful that I easily suspended my disbelief and just kept reading.
The kind of book that will stay with the reader for a very long time and continue to affect their world view long term, particularly whenever they see old photographs. I will definitely be reading more of this author's work.
Disclosure: the author, whom I do not know personally, sent me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
I think this book would be perfect for you Downton Abbey fans. While not set in the same kind of atmosphere, the story does party take place in the early 1900s. I Stopped Time is the story of Lottie and told from two different points of view, in two different eras. The first is from her own point of view in Edwardian England. Lottie's life is changed when she enters the photography studio of Mr. Parker.
In present day, Sir James Hastings has received boxes from his late mother's estate. Boxes of photographs. Sir James doesn't know his mother. He only remembers meeting her once, very briefly, as a young child at a photography show. He employs the help of Jenny, a young photography student, who convinces him to go through the boxes. Looking though these photographs Sir James finally gets to meet his mother.
Jane Davis writes a beautiful story of a mother and son. She ties the story in wonderfully with the history of the times and of photography. I really enjoyed reading the novel and took my time (unlike a lot of my rushed readings) to savor the history she includes. Lottie is the kind of character I like, she's complex and intriguing.
The best books are the ones that leave you feeling as though you've befriended somebody along the way, and I definitely got this feeling after following Lottie through the various passages of her life. I thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful descriptions of her childhood in Brighton in particular, as they made me feel as though I could really smell the salty sea air and hear the waves rolling in over the pebbles. Her friendship with Alfie was also wonderfully portrayed in these parts and I definitely found myself falling for his schoolboy charms right along with her and wanting things to work out well for them. I also loved how the story ebbed back and forth in smooth, tide-like undulations between the past and present - between Lottie and Sir James' stories - fitting wonderfully with the presence of the sea. All in all, a very well written story about the difficult choices and decisions that sometimes have to be made in life, and about dealing with the impact of them, even years beyond their making. A story full of characters that you want things to work out for and a plot that leads you along two narrative paths that intersect and throw light on one other gradually, twisting and turning cleverly, but without ever losing you along the way.
When a story pulls you into it so you care about the characters and believe in every moment you’re with them, and in addition the quality of writing enriches your experience, you’ve found something special. That’s how I feel about Jane Davis’ work.
This one creates the wartime period in emotion detail not just factual background; in attitudes to parentless children, unmarried mothers, work and respectability – or lack of. The reader starts wondering how a mother could have left her baby to grow up with such a hole in his life and heart. By the end, we understand, having followed the same journey as her son does, but with the benefit of Lottie’s first-person viewpoint, not just boxes of photographs.
As a photographer, I loved the insights into choice of subject and style, into the emotion of the art as well as mastery of the techniques of the time. That’s exactly what you’ll find in the book; exceptional writing with a heart. I cried when Alfie went off to war and that wasn’t the only time.
‘I Stopped Time’ is told from the dual point of view of mother and her now elderly son. Lottie, the mother, is brought up in pre-WW1 Brighton having never known her real parents. A local boy, Alfie, is her only protector against childhood taunts and amid speculation that her mother – apparently having been killed by lightning strike – might have been unmarried. Through a stroke of good fortune, Lottie is taken under the wing of a local photographer and he begins to teach her the craft that will eventually become her lifelong passion. Meanwhile in 2009, Lottie’s now elderly son, Sir James, estranged from her as a baby, has only recently been informed of her death. Left with sparse memories of her, he is bequeathed boxes and boxes of her photographs. By study her work, he begins to piece together more about her character and her extraordinary long life. I’m a big fan of Davis’s writing style and this deftly handled, emotionally complex tale didn’t disappoint.
Another beautifully-written tale by talented author, Jane Davis, I Stopped Time is the story of a mother, Lottie Pye, and her estranged son, James that sweeps us back to 1900s Brighton, and wartime London.
James knows very little of his mother, until he is bequeathed her photographs, and, with the help of young Jenny, pieces together a picture of his mother. In turn, the reader also uncovers the character of this fascinating and determined woman, who became a famous photographer.
In this delightful tale, we follow both Lottie and James’s often difficult, but ultimately uplifting journeys to find the truth about their own backgrounds.
I Stopped Time is a book you don’t want to end, and when it does, you want to start reading it all over again. A literary masterpiece!
I have mixed feelings about this book. Although I adore Jane Davis's writing style, this was one of those books that I couldn't get myself to love.I feel like there were many historical references that I didn't comprehend well. I did really enjoy the personality and interactions of the main character,Lottie. I read this prior to reading her book "These Fragile Things" which I feel it was difficult to surpass my feelings over that book. It has a good plot, but I wasn't really engrossed into the story until the end when all the pieces of the story began to fall into place. Despite not being my favorite, it was a good read and contains a lot of quotes that make this book memorable.
How I wish I too could stop time, because I didn't want the book to end. I loved almost everything about it: the complex characters, the layered plot, the sense of place. Its evocative cover and the recommendation by Compulsion Reads both made me want to read it, but I was less sure I wanted a historical novel. Luckily it wasn't, in my view, a historical novel. Instead, the scenes cross-cut in place and time (mainly between Brighton and London, and between the 1900s and roughly the present day). The story is deeply moving, especially to anyone who has children, the ending is ultimately satisfying, and feminists won't be disappointed. Elegant and fabulous book.
what a delightful book with a surprising twist at the end. For some reason I thought this was a SciFi book; how wrong could I be? I don't normally like books that switch around too much but the separate stories of the main characters played together well. The jumping around in time was hardly noticed due to the tale told. The quality of the writing and characterisation are very good. I have two small niggles. Firstly some loose ends are not tied up, or rather some threads are not pursued and I'd have liked illustrations. Mind you as I'm reading the Kindle copy I don't know if the hard copy has those.
This was my first time reading this British author -- I was curious because she's had success self-publishing her literary fiction. (This is not a popular concept in the U.S., to say the least.) I was thrilled by how good Davis's work is. She is particularly good at drawing well-defined, believable characters who defy stereotypes. This is true no matter the age of the character.
"I Stopped Time" deals with a ground-breaking female photographer who lives through the whole of the 20th Century, but of course it is about much more -- relationships of all kinds, history, memory, and time. Highly recommended!
A great storyline in which an elderly man inherits a large collection of photographs from the early 20thC. He is the female photographer's son, abandoned by his mother when he was barely old enough to remember her. The dual timeline works well, and the historical section, set in the seaside town of Brighton, is both fascinating and convincing. The portrayal of women's lives at the time - and of the young rebel who was determined to follow her heart - was both truthful and moving. Sadly, I found the modern-day story of the old man and his young female friend rather thin by comparison, but even so, it was a page-turning read.
This book is a masterpiece! My mother recommended it to me as she knows I love 'time slip' novels with dual narratives. The story is woven together with such skill and explores themes of identity, loyalty and loss. The characters are vibrant, especially Lottie Pie, the main character who I loved throughout. The authentic details from historical Brighton from the beginning of the last century made the novel come to life without feeling forced. I spent much of my childhood in Brighton, so this beautiful story resonated strongly with me. I truly look forward to reading Jane Davis' other works.
I loved this story! The book has an old fashioned feel like the old classics. The author does an excellent job of showing two points of view through a long stretch of time without being confusing. The character Lottie Pye and her son James are people who are stuck in times where they could never truly be themselves. It's impossible to not feel for both of them as they navigate their difficult relationship and their own problems. If you love old classics such as "Rebecca," this is the book for you.
I found myself gradually drawn into this story slowly and eventually engaged. The author has done some detailed research into the history of the period and at certain points this shows through rather than the narrative, giving an uneven ride to the reader at times. I was left wondering if she should have stepped away from the fiction and written up her research as social history rather than a novel. However overallit was an intersting and entertaining read
I stopped time is a beautifully written novel, encompassing two timeframes and two very different characters. I was intrigued after the first few pages and couldn’t put the book down. The characters were easy to identify with and as each layer was peeled I found myself sympathizing more and more with Lottie. No spoilers here but I will say that I felt that rare sense of loss when I finished this book. A sure sign for me of a great read. Highly recommended.
This is the second of Jane Davis' novels I have read. Sadly, I don't have the language skills to fully express just how hauntingly beautiful yet realistic this tale of a woman growing up throughout the whole of the 20th century is. I have practically inhaled this magical novel - with it's incredible sense of time and place over the past week - friends have gone unvisited, relatives unphoned, commissions delayed. I will be buying all her back catalogue....but I dare only do so one at a time!
I had thought that this book was going to be some silly history slant science fiction thing. I could not have been more wrong. It is, instead, a lovely book about British folks in WW1 and after and an unusual bequest that a survivor of WW2 receives from the mother he never knew. This book is the real deal.
A female photographer who was ahead of her time connects with her long-estranged son after her death through the pictures she took that spanned a century of change. Read my review of this book here https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2015/03/1...
I have loved every book I've read by Jane Davis. Each is highly original and lyrically written with wonderful, rounded characters. You won't be disappointed if you add this or any of Jane Davis' books to your summer reading list.