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In Another Life Paperback – February 2, 2016

4.2 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Debut author Johnson handles what could be an overwhelming amount of historical details with skill, presenting a fascinating mystery grounded in historical fact. Her lyrical, sensuous style is beguiling in its own singularly seductive way. Readers can practically taste the ever-present wine and feel the winter wind. Lia is a dream of a narrator, one whom readers will root for. VERDICT: A perfect match for readers who enjoy Kate Mosse's "Languedoc Trilogy" and fans of female-driven romantic historical works such as Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series." -- Library Journal STARRED REVIEW


"In Another Life grabs you from page one and doesn't let go. The prose is rich and evocative, transporting the reader to rural France with an ease unusual for a debut author. The story is intriguing, weaving past and present in an ever-tightening braid that eventually dissolves the separation altogether, adeptly illustrating how the Cathars' belief in reincarnation might play out in the real world. Lia is especially well-portrayed as the unwitting catalyst uniting two deaths, three men, and 800 years of history, while the male characters are slowly revealed as we learn their unlikely pasts and how they affect the present. Very highly recommended." Nicole Evelina, Historical Novels Review

"A compelling tale of forgiveness and redemption, weaving together "then" and "now,"  and revealing the steadfast power of love. This book makes the tragic story of the Cathars accessible to the general reader. It situates their story in the development of France as a nation and sheds light on the Catholic Church as a power broker. First-time novelist Julie Christine Johnson's In Another Life offers a tale that spans time, bringing the 13th century and contemporary Languedoc and Paris to vibrant life. Populated by characters grappling with common human challenges, this novel is amplified by a framework beyond time."
Washington Independent Review of Books


"Johnson is clearly striding in the footsteps of authors like Geraldine Brooks and Diana Gabaldon in her juxtaposition of the modern and historical  ... a strong debut." New York Journal of Books

"Johnson's heartbroken researcher wends through the lush landscape and historical religious intrigue of southern France seeking the distraction of arcane fact-but instead, like the reader, is transformed by the moving echo of emotional truth. An imaginative, unforgettable tale." - Kathryn Craft, author of The Art of Falling and The Far End of Happy

"The dark days of 13th century Cathar persecution in France reach out long fingers to intrigue and bewitch in Julie Christine Johnson's immersive depiction of past and present in this atmospheric novel of love, loss and reincarnation." Tessa Arlen author of the Lady Montfort mystery series." - Tessa Arlen, author of the Lady Montfort mystery series

"Delicate and haunting, romantic and mystical, In Another Life is a novel with an extraordinary sense of place. Fans swept away by Diana Gabaldon's 18th-century Scotland will want to explore Julie Christine Johnson's 13th-century Languedoc." - Greer Macallister, author of The Magician's Lie

"In this lovely novel, Johnson shows us the redemptive power of love and second chances through the ages. Evocative of Outlander, In Another Life is a thrilling combination of romance, adventure, and history." - Margaret Dilloway, author of Sisters of Heart and Snow and How to Be an American Housewife

"Debut author Johnson handles what could be an overwhelming amount of historical details with skill, presenting a fascinating mystery grounded in historical fact. Her lyrical, sensuous style is beguiling in its own singularly seductive way. Readers can practically taste the ever-present wine and feel the winter wind. Lia is a dream of a narrator, one whom readers will root for. A perfect match for readers who enjoy Kate Mosse's "Languedoc Trilogy" and fans of female-driven romantic historical works such as Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series.
" - Library Journal

"Johnson's novel is beautifully written. It centers around Lia and her return to France, moving seamlessly between present and past, blending mystery, romance and rich history together. Johnson brings the 800-year-old Cathar religious persecution to life with vibrant characters who appear to be reincarnated in the men surrounding Lia in the present day." - RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

In Another Life grabs you from page one and doesn't let go. The prose is rich and evocative, transporting the reader to rural France with an ease unusual for a debut author. Very highly recommended.

"what makes "In Another Life" work is the strong emotional core, the sense of place, the historical suspense and the characterization that makes the reader root for Lia" - Seattle Times

From the Back Cover

She has fallen for a man who shouldn't exist.
Historian Lia Carrer has finally returned to southern France, determined to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. But instead of finding solace in the region's quiet hills and medieval ruins, she falls in love with Raoul, a man whose very existence challenges everything she knows about life--and about her husband's death. As Raoul reveals the story of his past to Lia, she becomes entangled in the echoes of an ancient murder, resulting in a haunting and suspenseful journey that reminds Lia that the dead may not be as far from us as we think. 
Steeped in the rich history and romantic landscape of rural France, In Another Life is a story of love that conquers time, and the lost loves that haunts us all. 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (February 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492625205
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492625209
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Russo on February 9, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm terrible at writing reviews, but I will give it a go! When I read the plot description I will admit that I was a little hesitant because I tend to be a very literal person and wasn't sure how I'd feel about the elements of mysticism and reincarnation intermixing with a novel that is more historical fiction than fantasy, but I found that I was easily able to let myself be taken away by the intriguing and page-turning story. I really enjoyed learning more about the Cathars and France, two subjects I know little (France) to nothing (Cathars) about. The author's ability to put you in the moment, place, and time is extraordinary - I felt as though I could see and touch all that she described, something I look for and cherish in novels like this. As I am apt to do, and as hard as I tried to slow down and savor, I was so eager to find out what happened that I may have rushed through a few parts. But no worries....it's a great excuse to go back and read it again.
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I love historical fiction; learning something new through the mode of a good story. Frankly, I had never heard of the Cathars, but really enjoyed learning more about their history and about this part of France. Ms. Johnson's writing style, whether its about the food and wine on the table or the history of the religion and region engaged me and made me want to be there with Lia and the other characters. The style of jumping back and forth between time settings might be challenging for some readers, but I liked how each section continued to build the story from the different time perspectives.

I tend to be a fast reader, but I forced myself to slow down and savor this one.
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Format: Paperback
A tremendously fun, well-plotted trip into the south of France and the 13th century. The level of painstaking craftsmanship in Johnson's writing, and the extraordinary level of detail--whether it's describing a glass of wine; the smell of a meadow; or the feel of a medieval tunic--transport you completely to two very different eras. The story slides effortlessly between the present day and 1208, and so fully constructed are the two fictional worlds that the time-travel element, when it appears, is natural and believable. Reminded me of elements of A.S. Byatt's "Possession" and Helene Wecker's "The Golem and the Jinni."
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Format: Paperback
It only took a few chapters for me to get really wrapped up in the story. I already loved historical fiction, but I had studiously avoided any descriptions of this book because I wanted to read it with no expectations. So when I figured out the general direction the genre was heading, I was so excited and I just got caught up in the characters, the descriptions, the emotions.

The author put me IN the story, right alongside Lia, at the dinner table, in the basilica, in Jordi's office, in FRANCE. And that's what made me forget everything around me while I was reading.

I can't wait for her next book!
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Format: Kindle Edition
When I first started reading this, I wasn't sure that I was going to like it. However, the longer I read it, the more I liked it. While it was kind of unbelievable, the author made it feel like it could happen and I just went with it and it really made a good story. I found myself really wanting to know what happened back in 1208. Mostly because three of the characters in the story were reincarnated from that era and they remembered everything that happened to them during that time. Of course, the fourth main character looked exactly like the love interest of two of the reincarnated characters.

Yeah I know it sounds hokey, but it really was a good book. I really enjoyed it and was very entertained. I actually stayed up way too late reading it. I was thinking I would get a couple of hours in and go to bed. Nope, that did not happen. And, I could not wait to get back into this morning.

Huge thanks to Sourcebooks for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I was certainly pleased with my request.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book was slow to pull me in. Once it got going, I enjoyed it right up to the author stating her real premise. "whatever he felt for her, it wouldn't compare to the love of a husband for his wife..." from there the story shuts down quickly even leaving a major plot point (the priest) without resolution. There are enough widows, widowers, and divorced people in this world who have remarried happily to kick the author's premise to the curve.
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Format: Paperback
After the tragic death of her husband and problems in her career as a historian, Lia Carrer goes home to Languedoc in the South of France to heal. However, it isn't long before Lia's best friend is trying to set her up with the lonely and kind widower from a nearby vineyard and a local photographer is persuading her to help him with a book about Languedoc.

In the meantime, Lia's real passion is finding supporting evidence of her theory that in 1208 the Archdeacon Castelnau was assassinated as an excuse to start the crusade against the heretical Cathers. As Lia's researches the brutality and events hundreds of years ago, she begins to discover that the three men in her life: the widower, the photographer and the priest all have their own secrets and know much more than they're telling.

Among other ideas that the Catholic church did not condone, the Cathers believed in reincarnation. Playing on this element of their faith, Julie Christine Johnson spins a tail of murder, intrigue and romance in In Another Life. Reminding me of last year's The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack, the idea that someone can live another life is a fun idea to explore in fiction. Johnson does it relatively well in her debut novel.

It took several chapters for me to fall into an easy reading grove. I had to go back and reread several sections because the back and forth between present and past was initially confusing. However, it begins to make more sense and I was finally able to keep characters straight and plot lines from tangling. Honestly, the entire book is a tangled web of past lives and loves.

As with any fantasy novel, one must suspend reality. I don't read in this genre very often and I prefer believable explanations even for the unbelievable. Make me want to believe.
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