by Florence Keeling
Laura is happy and content, she has a new boyfriend and loves her job teaching primary school pupils in London. But when she inherits a rundown house from a stranger on her 30th birthday, memories of her prom night come flooding back, memories of a scary encounter and an antique mirror in the very same house.
Laura visits the house with all its secrets and as she unravels the clues she reveals the biggest secret of all: her own destiny. But how can you change the future if it’s already written in the past?
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As Florence Keeling’s debut novel, this book has firmly positioned her on my list of authors to follow. I absolutely loved it, especially as a fellow Midlander I know Coventry and the area pretty well. Add that to the fact that I can’t resist a WWII story, and this just had me hooked from the beginning.
As a curious 16yo, Laura and two girlfriends sneak in to an old abandoned house on the night of their school prom. It was to be the last night the three would be together, and they wanted to see if the rumours were true about the house being haunted before they parted ways.
With her two friends bottling it, Laura headed upstairs where a large object is covered by a sheet. She removes the sheet to find a beautiful mirror, in the reflection she sees an old man behind her with a photo of her in the prom dress. Spooked, she runs off and moves away, putting the memory out of her mind.
Until she receives an extraordinary gift on the 30th birthday – the deeds to that very house back in Coventry.
With the memory of that night now vivid once more, Laura reckons the best thing to do would be to restore the house and sell it. She could never live there herself.
Back in the upstairs room, the mirror is still there. But she soon discovers it is not just any old mirror. In fact, it is the portal to the past that unlocks the secret of that old man, explaining why he had that photo of her and … so much more.
As I said at the beginning, I totally loved this story, and read it quite quickly, always wanting to know what would happen next. “Travelling” from the modern-day to 1940s Coventry, Laura gets to experience an air raid when she meets the man, Ben, who owned the house in those days. He, too, “travels” to the future, and is incredibly sweet when he first sees her switch on the lights, or use the microwave, and his first encounter with the Internet was too adorable and funny.
The author has created a cast of wonderful characters, spread over time, with typical traits of their time. There is plenty of tension that kept me gripped, as Laura wonders how they can continue to get to know each other as time marches on in both eras.
The ending is unexpected, and so sad, but to be anything other than it is would be disrespectful to the story and its wonderful characters.
An absorbing story that will have you engrossed and begging for more. I look forward to more from this talented author.
About the author
Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother’s name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool’s Day. She is married with two teenage children. Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton. Reflected Destinies is her first novel.
Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.
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