A Shape on the Air

Julia Ibbotson

Sci-Fi, Time Travel
Can love last for lifetimes? Viv DuLac is a university professor, specialising in Anglo Saxon history. She lives with her partner Pete Adamson in a flat she loves, and is very happy with her life. Then Pete comes home and tells her he’s leaving her for Viv’s good friend Gwyn and that he has leveraged the flat for his business, so she no longer has a home. Viv’s world collapses. After drinking far too much wine Viv goes out for a walk and slips into the local pond known as Cooney’s Mere. It acts as a time portal, and Viv finds herself in the year 499 in the body of Lady Vivianne, orphaned and betrothed to Sir Pelleas, a man whom she despises and who only wants Lady Vivianne for her inheritance. But Lady Vivianne is a feisty lady and Sir Pelleas is not going to simply take what he wants without a fight. When Viv awakes, she thinks she was dreaming, until she finds a small gold key in her bed, a key she has never seen in her life, but remembers from her dream. Could she be having a breakdown? But how would that explain the key? Viv is being helped through her heartache by her good friend Ellie and her crazy upstairs neighbour Tilly. She also becomes friends with the local vicar, a man named Rory Netherbridge, who looks uncannily like Sir Roland, a man who serves Sir Pelleas but looks out for Lady Vivianne. Rory tells Vivianne that he, too, has been to the year 499. He tells her about time slipping, and how her fragile emotional state might have opened the portal to another life she had once lived. As Viv sees the similarities between her current life and her life in 499, she discovers correspondence from her dead parents, about a locked chest and a key, and knows what she has to do to find the answers. But will Sir Roland win, or Sir Pelleas? And what role will Rory play in Viv’s life when the mystery of the portal is solved?

Welcome back everyone, after so many romances I’m ticking off my first sci-fi/time travel kinda book for the year.

When I signed up for this tour, I was very much on the fence about whether I’d love it or not. Now I’ve finished it, I can assure you that I managed to fall onto one side very easily. Even with a few things that I didn’t like, I still found myself really enjoying this novel.

I liked that Julia created a reason for the time-slipping and created her own rhyme, reason and method. It made this element uniquely hers. The fact that Viv was able to speak to others about what was happening and get their help and support through the confusing time was amazing.

Also, the slow build towards a relationship (remember, this is not a romance!) for Viv was really well done. It didn’t feel forced or weird like they sometimes can. If you’re not a fan of romance, then you don’t need to worry with this one. There’s only a couple of small sections that talk about the romance aspect that you can easily skip over as it doesn’t really impact the story.

There were a couple of things I wasn’t a fan of. Given how descriptive Julia’s writing is, I felt the naming of the friends in both times the same was a bit overkill. Julia could have named them differently in each time and let their personalities and loyalties do the talking. I actually found myself rolling my eyes and thinking “duh” when it was revealed because it was just too much.

Also, Pete’s actions in the early part of the book just felt odd to me. I’m luck enough to have never experienced domestic violence so I don’t know if my perception is off. But it felt like there would have been signs to point towards him acting the way he did. Even if that was a first and only time, it felt more like he’d been possessed, or someone had replaced his personality or something. Although that’s all based on limited knowledge and how it was written.

In the grand scheme of the book, those little annoyances were nothing. They had no real impact on the story. Only on my experience reading it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Wednesday (I told you this was going to be a review heavy period, didn’t I?) I’ll be reviewing When Adam Met Evie by Giulia Skye. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Acclaimed, award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana, West Africa) specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a school teacher, then an academic as a senior university lecturer and researcher. As well as medieval time-slip, she has published a number of books, including memoir/history of food (The Old Rectory), children’s medieval fantasy (S.C.A.R.S), a trilogy opening in 1960s Ghana (Drumbeats), and many academic works. Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga and walking in the countryside in England and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time.

Check out Julia on her socials and Pinterest.

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5 Replies to “A Shape on the Air – Julia Ibbotson”

    1. Stick to what you enjoy. But if you do want to try a time slip (slightly different to time travel) novel this is a great one.

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