shortlisted for Book of the Month Selection
Timeslip / Fictional Saga
Maryland / London
Graham Saga #9
This is the ninth in the popular time slip series, the Graham Saga, following the fortunes of Alex, a reluctant time traveller, and Matthew Graham, her seventeenth century husband. Alex and Matthew are still in Maryland working their substantial farmstead with their ever growing family, sons, daughters, grandchildren, waifs and strays. But this story starts with an attempted rescue of a dear friend from an old enemy with a supporting cast that both make you shudder with revulsion and smile with approval.
The action flits between Maryland and London with life in London, courts and coffee shops, but the centre of the novel is always the Graham's Garden, the family home. Where other novels have discussed the parting of the ways of the family, this one sees the return of many.
Ms Belfrage writes in a pleasing style that keeps on going, never letting up, vivid and engaging that sweeps you on and makes you feel for the characters. I found myself resenting the bad things that happen in the novel, having to recall that these are not real people, but they feel real.
Even if you have not read the others in this series, don't let that put you off this particular instalment. You may well want to go back to the beginning to find out what happened before, but There Is Always Tomorrow is an individual a story of the New World and the Old, and is perfectly satisfying on its own.
© Louise Adam
2nd review received:
One of the biggest challenges of writing sweeping family sagas is to give the reader the small details that bring the characters to life. And in There is Always a Tomorrow, the ninth in the Graham Saga, Ms Belfrage shows her skill as a novelist in bringing these details to the forefront. With themes of love and loss, distinct and parallel lives, this book traverses time and distance to follow the exploits of the rapidly expanding Graham family. At the same time, poignant and deeply emotional scenes (Alex carving her son’s name as a memorium comes to mind) anchor the action, and bring the family vividly to life. These delicate, intimate insights into motive and character compel us to feel as if we too are part of the Graham family.
Ms Belfrage’s thorough historical research is seamless, a foundation for the story but never interrupting the flow of the narrative, nor intruding upon the characters and their actions. This is the very best kind of historical fiction – where time and place effortlessly supports the very human story that is being revealed. And, because the research is so well done, as a reader one is never jarred out of the story with an anachronism or a detail that is out of place.
I truly enjoyed my time in the world of the Grahams, and have found myself thinking about them well after I finished the book, wondering about their world and their lives. That, to me, is the mark of a great story. I hope Ms Belfrage finds it in her heart to bring us another in the Graham Saga. In the meantime, I’m going to join her in the 14th century in her other series, The King’s Greatest Enemy. I have a feeling I will be equally enthralled.
© Elizabeth St John
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