- Title: Time and Regret by M.K. Tod
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
- Published: August 16, 2016
- Pages: 366
- Genre: Historical Mystery
- Tour dates: September 1 – 10, 2016
When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…
Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.
About the author: Time and Regret is M.K. Tod’s third novel. She began writing in 2005 while living as an expat in Hong Kong. What started as an interest in her grandparents’ lives turned into a full-time occupation writing historical fiction. Her novel Unravelled was awarded Indie Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. In addition to writing historical novels, she blogs about reading and writing historical fiction on www.awriterofhistory.com, reviews books for the Historical Novel Society and the Washington Independent Review of Books, and has conducted three highly respected reader surveys. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and is the mother of two adult children.
“Beyond the next rise, the war burst into view, a zigzagging patchwork of Allied trenches facing German lines. The scene looked nothing like Martin had imagined. Instead of deep, carefully constructed trenches designed to protect their men, uneven ditches were connected together in haphazard fashion, with mounds of earth and sandbags marking the lip of every section, and soldiers standing guard at uneven intervals. A sudden breeze carried the smell of mud, sewage, rotting flesh, gunfire, and death.
As far as he could see, the land had been blown to bits, leaving nothing but brown and gray and black, devoid of vegetation except a pocket of shattered tree trunks to the far right. Great rolls of barbed wire and deep craters partially filled with water defined the space between the lines. No-man’s-land.
A dog barked. Shots rang out.
Nearby—and well behind the lines—was a stone hut with ammunition crates stacked against one wall. On the ground just a few feet away, a single boot lay encased in mud, the tongue flipped forward as though some soldier intended to return for it.
“________” Martin thought.
“Listen up,” Butler said. “Second Division is taking over from the First, who’ve been in place for months. They’re decimated and exhausted. Our line extends north and south from here, and we’ll have responsibility for roughly a mile of it. British units are holding the line north of us.” He gestured to a line of trenches marked at one end by a concrete bunker and a point at the other end where Canadian and German troops were so close it seemed their barbed-wire entanglements intersected. “Second Bavarian Corps opposes us. They’re tough and vigilant. On our left is Third Brigade, and on our right a cavalry brigade. No use for horses in this shit, so Alderson turned them into an infantry unit.”
A burst of gunfire erupted followed by innocent-looking drifts of smoke. Tomorrow that will be us under fire, Martin thought.”
History, mystery and romance are intertwined in this novel about World War I and the art world. Grace unexpectedly finds her grandfather’s diaries written during the first world war along with clues she understands that were written only for her. Intrigued, she flies to France to follow her grandfather’s footsteps as he moved from town to town in the trenches to prevent the advance of the German army.
What she didn’t bargain for was having someone else follow her, intent on discovering the same secret. With the aid of a charming Frenchman and art curator, she travels across France to find the clues her grandfather has left her.
I really enjoyed Time and Regret. It is a work of fiction but the historical aspect of the book was also quite interesting. The timeline alternated between 1991 (Grace) and (1917-1919) Martin and was easy to follow.