Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan incorporates a couple of my favorite things into a novel – time travel, Ireland, and a connection to dogs as you can see by the very cute and adorable one on the cover of the novel. In Now & Then we are transported back to 1844 Ireland and it’s a great journey.
At the beginning of Now & Then we meet Anna, in her thirties and recently divorced. Anna has had a rough time of it wanting a child and only having miscarriages. On top of it all she finds out her brother has been in a serious car accident and is in a coma and her sixteen year old nephew Joseph is in jail. She’s the one who has to go pick him up and she’s none too happy about it. He’s been nothing but trouble since he grew up and he used to be such a sweet kid but there is a history of fathers abusing son’s in Anna’s family and her brother hasn’t taken much of a different route than their father had.
Anna picks Joseph up and tells him about his dad. He’s shocked and upset and is blaming himself. She takes him back to her place so they can sleep the night and head to the hospital in the morning. During the night Joseph has a dream and gets up and starts going through Anna’s suitcase (which had been packed from a trip she had just taken to Ireland in which a mysterious woman had given her something to take back with her). Anna hears him so she gets out of bed and sees him and figures he must be trying to steal from her. She goes to grab this mysterious object she had gotten in Ireland and all of a sudden they both find themselves tumbling through time via water – they feel as though they are drowning – they are on their way to Ireland 1844.
When Anna awakens it is by the ocean with a severely injured leg. Her clothes are torn away, she is freezing and completely confused. Finally someone finds her and they take her home. When she wakes up there she has no idea where Joseph is but knows she has to find him. The family that has taken her in is wonderful though but they are very poor. They don’t have a lot to share but in Glennis, the mother of the family, she finds a soul sister and they become fast friends.
On the other hand, Joseph wakes up and finds himself laid out on a table with voices all around. Joseph has been lucky enough to land in the area of Ireland where the privileged reside. The woman who has been caring for him, Diedre, is a woman who has the sight. She can run her hands on people and know what’s ailing them and how to fix it. Her daughter Taleen is no different although just coming into the ‘sight’. She is in love with Joseph as soon as she sees him laid out on the table and Joseph is no different – he never realized he could feel this way about someone.
From this point Now & Then takes us through the hardships and triumphs that Anna and Joseph experience in Ireland of the past. Joseph finds a life he never had while in America and he likes it. He likes being in love as well. Anna, who has been struggling with believing in love again may just find it where she least expects it. Along the way the dog Madigan works his way into the story and everyone’s hearts in a magical way. Now & Then is full of wonderful characters and has a magical feel to it. You feel drawn into this story and the people within it. It’s a story of hope, love and the healing that comes with facing the past (in an unforgettable way) and working towards a better future for all!
Now & Then is a great story. I absolutely loved the time travel and being that it was to Ireland in 1844 made it even better for me. From reading a few novels this past year dealing with Ireland, a few of the places and incidents going on were familiar to me and I enjoyed that. This is a novel I would recommend to everyone but especially those of us who loved Galway Bay and Outlander.
Now & Then can be purchased here in the US and here in Canada. Be sure to visit Jacqueline Sheehan’s website as well and take a look at her past works. I’ve not read any of her previous work but I intend to and I really look forward to what she brings to us next.
My Thanks…to Stephanie with Harper Collins for my review copy of Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan.