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A Tale of Love, Death and Redemption - an Editorial Review of "Love Lost in Time"

Book Blurb:

A reluctant daughter. A dutiful wife. A mystery of the ages.

Languedoc, France, 2018 Historian Madeleine Winters would rather research her next project than rehash the strained relationship she had with her late mother. However, to claim her inheritance, she reluctantly agrees to stay the one year required in her late mother’s French home and begins renovations. But when she’s haunted by a female voice inside the house and tremors emanating from beneath her kitchen floorboards, she’s shocked to discover ancient human bones.

The Mediterranean coast, AD 777 Seventeen-year-old Nanthild is wise enough to know her place. Hiding her Pagan wisdom and dutifully accepting her political marriage, she’s surprised when she falls for her Christian husband, the Count of Carcassonne. But she struggles to keep her forbidden religious beliefs and her healing skills secret while her spouse goes off to fight in a terrible, bloody war.

As Maddie settles into her rustic village life, she becomes obsessed with unraveling the mysterious history buried in her new home. And when Nanthild is caught in the snare of an envious man, she’s terrified she’ll never embrace her beloved again.

Can two women torn apart by centuries help each other finally find peace?

Love Lost in Time is a vivid standalone historical fiction novel for fans of epoch-spanning enigmas. If you like dark mysteries, romantic connections, and hints of the paranormal, then you’ll adore Cathie Dunn’s tale of redemption and self-discovery.

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Author Bio:

Cathie Dunn writes historical fiction, mystery, and romance. The focus of her historical fiction novels is on strong women through time.

Cathie has been writing for over twenty years. She studied Creative Writing, with a focus on novel writing, which she teaches in the south of France. She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites.

At the moment, Cathie is working on two novels: Treachery, #2 in the House of Normandy series, about Sprota the Breton, handfasted wife of William Longsword, the son of Poppa and Rollo; and The Alchemist's Daughter, #2 in the Affair of the Poisons series. She also continues to plot a medieval murder mystery series set in 13th century Languedoc at the height of the Cathar persecutions.

Cathie's stories have garnered awards and praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.

Ascent: The fictionalised story of Poppa of Bayeux, handfasted wife of Rollo (Hrólfr) the Viking. A historical novel about a strong woman who faced many challenges head on.

The Shadows of Versailles: Seduced at Versailles. Broken by tragedy. Consumed by revenge. A historical novel set during the infamous Affair of the Poisons.

Love Lost in Time: A paranormal dual-timeline mystery set in Carcassonne, south of France, in the present and in the time of Charlemagne. A winner of The Coffee Pot Book Club Award and Book of the Month at Discovering Diamonds Reviews, the story is ’beautifully told’ and ’compelling'. Love Lost in Time is also a Finalist in its category from The Coffee Pot Book Club.

A Highland Captive: Set during the Scottish Wars of Independence, A Highland Captive is a ’well-researched’ tale of bravery, of uncertainty, and of recognition of love. Winner of the Chill with a Book Award.

Highland Arms: A fast-paced romantic adventure set in the Scottish Highlands about smugglers, Jacobites and rebellions. A heroine with an insatiable curiosity encounters a Highland rogue. But dangers await!

Dark Deceit: An ’exciting' medieval mystery romance set in England and Normandy, Dark Deceit weaves a tale of murder, changing loyalties, betrayal and love.

Silent Deception: A ’thoroughly enjoyable’ gothic romance novella set in Victorian Cornwall. A young heiress uncovers a dark family secret with the help of a stranger. But he has secrets too. Silent Deception is free in ebook format.

Cathie is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors, and she organises historical fiction blog tours for The Coffee Pot Book Club.

After many years in Scotland, Cathie now lives in south of France with her husband, and rescued Charlie Cat and Ellie Dog. Discover more about Cathie at

Editorial Review:

Historian Madeline Winters’ mother has died. Their relationship has been strained but Madeline soon finds herself moving into her dead mother’s home so that she can inherit the home, renovate it, and sell it. However, she is not prepared for the mystery she will find herself invested in when she finds the bones of a woman below the floors of the house. Madeline commits herself to discovering what happened to the woman and how those bones got there. In a dual timeline, readers also follow Hilda, a young woman in 777 who has recently betrothed to Count Bellon of Carcassonne in the south of France. Author Cathie Dunn leads readers on a journey of romance and more as they discover how the stories of Madeline and Hilda intertwine in a richly written and unforgettable tale in Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death, and Redemption.

Elizabeth had loved the winds that sweep the plain between the Montagne Noire and the Pyrenees during all seasons. They brought winter and rain to a land parched by the sun, and cooled you down during the long, hot summer days.”

Dunn uses a dual timeline to tell Madeline’s and Hilda’s stories in alternating chapters. The women’s worlds are entirely different with one taking place in 777 during the era of rulers such as Charlemagne and Clovis while the other is in a modern-day setting. Both women have interesting experiences that will keep readers engaged and while their stories intertwine to an extent, a stronger or bigger connection between the two women would enhance the plot. As characters, Dunn writes both women in a way that readers will be able to connect with them and relate to them, especially female readers. It is easy to understand their feelings and empathize with their situations and decisions.

She blushed. ’Twas true. Bellon was a handsome man: fairly tall, broad in shoulder and back, his flirty smile, and the sparkle in his green eyes. And he was only a few years older than her, not like other lords at court, with wives who could have been their granddaughters.”

The writing in Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death, and Redemption is spectacular. It is full of rich detail and imagery that will pull readers into the storyline. The writing while rich is easy to follow and understand. Dunn also incorporates dialects and accents into the dialogue within her book to maintain the appropriate settings for each character. The author understands how to use language to appeal to historical fiction readers as well.

The rebuilt walls and towers looked impressive from any distance, but up close she was lost for words. Dating from a range of centuries, their stones could tell tales. Maddie took a few photos with her phone, aware of resembling any other awestruck tourist seeing La Cité up close, then slowly walked up to the gate. She wandered over the bridge, its large wooden blocks creaking after decades of use, and crossed the grass-covered moat.”

Both Hilda and Madeline’s storylines take place in the southern part of France in the region near Carcassonne but in different time periods. While Madeline’s time period is the present, Hilda’s takes place in the 770s. Neither the time period of Hilda’s storyline nor the location of both storylines are typical for historical fiction. Cathie Dunn took these unique setting attributes and created a believable novel. It is apparent that Dunn conducted research in order to tell the best story possible, particularly in regards to Hilda’s storyline. Readers may also find that they are unfamiliar with this time period and location but with Dunn’s writing and research, readers will be able to navigate this time in history.

A new sense of urgency surged through him. By now, Hilda would have heard the tidings of Roncevaux. Even King Charles might have stopped off, knowing that she had lost her father, and possibly her husband, in battle. And knowing the Frankish king, Bellon knew Charles would plan for the future of the stronghold.”

Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death, and Redemption is a wonderful choice for historical fiction fans. Readers who gravitate toward French history will find that this story incorporates French history beautifully. The storylines also include romance and paranormal elements so readers who enjoy those will find Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death, and Redemption enjoyable. At over six hundred pages, some readers might find this book to be a bit of a challenge.

For some inexplicable reason, she missed the bones below the old tiles. And whilst the new surface was beautiful and modern, something was different. The scent of lavender hadn’t returned in recent weeks, and she felt like she had lost a friend. Had she set the poor woman free by excavating what was left of her?”

Dual timelines told in a historically accurate manner with excellent prose make Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death, and Redemption an enjoyable read. While there could be more connection between the characters and timelines, the book is still well done. A unique setting and time period, rich detailed writing, and interesting storylines earn Love Lost in Time: A Tale of Love, Death, and Redemption new fans and admirers. It is the perfect read for the French history aficionado or those who love a good historical romance.


“Love Lost in Time” by Cathie Dunn receives 4.5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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