In another revision, I might have liked this book.
You know that moment when you meet someone who seems to have it all together, only to find out they are completely cray-cray? Yeah. That was this book.
An 800 year old murder that shaped the destiny of an entire culture mixed with reincarnation and excellent historical detail – sounds like my kind of book. The story follows Lia, a historian and widow, back to part of her family seat in southern France as she searches for a new direction in life. Lia begins a research journey and ends up running into 3 mysterious men who are connected to the murder of a Cathar priest in 1208.
Reincarnation is a tricky thing to write about. The logistics of how the soul progresses in various philosophies needs to be handled with care. While this book is filled with excessive detail about the history, landscape, character back-story, and wine of Languedoc, it is sparse in the logistics of Cathar reincarnation. Each “reincarnated” soul comes into being in a different manner, but all leave the same way. The end left me completely perplexed and un-fulfilled, as if I had just watched a French movie.
Additionally, the reader is likely to get whiplash jumping back and forth from 1208 A.D. to present-day; especially since the characters in the past have the same names in the present. This was a difficult read. It had the potential to combine the religious intrigue of Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” with the historical lushness of Deb Harkness’ “A Discovery of Witches.” Instead, it was neither.
Overall, a well-researched story with tons of potential, but too many loose ends to feel complete. If you love the bittersweet, albeit abrupt, type of ending and would like to experience Southern France in a very detailed manner, you can purchase “In Another Life” here. Find out more about Julie Christine Johnson here.