Hey-ho Janeites! May I introduce you to a newly released Regency romance fantasy novel today? By Time Divided, by Elaine Jeremiah is a time-travel story that takes us back into Jane Austen’s England.
Time-travel in fiction is a creative literary technique. It allows characters and readers to be transported to a different era. The Time Machine, a science fiction novella written by H. G. Wells in 1895 is generally credited as the first time-travel story. This concept must have seemed outrageous to the staid Victorian readers unfamiliar with the concept. Today it is a common trope used in contemporary, historical, and Austenesque fiction. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is hugely popular, and recently The Austen Project, by Kathleen A. Flynn, Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe, and The Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler round out the field.
By Time Divided is the second book in the Love Without Time trilogy by Elaine Jeremiah. It is a frame story whereby the heroine Cassie Taylor and her friend Mia begin the narrative in contemporary times and travel back to Regency England. A story within a story. They are on a mission to find Cassie’s love interest that we were introduced to in book one, Love Without Time (2018). If you are wondering about the Jane Austen connection, as I was, the author describes it as a Jane Austen-inspired time travel romance. Here are the book description and an exclusive excerpt for your enjoyment.
Having accidentally time travelled to Regency England; Jane Austen fan Cassie Taylor finds herself unexpectedly back in the twenty-first century. But everything has changed. She’s been missing for three weeks and her parents are upset and disbelieving when she tells them where she’s been. The police aren’t too pleased either.
Cassie’s best friend Mia doubts the story yet stands by her friend. And then the unthinkable happens when they both end up in Regency England. Now Cassie has an even bigger problem: Mia is mixed race and they’re stuck in an era where the slave trade has only just been abolished. Cassie must somehow explain herself to her Regency friends – why she vanished and who her friend is. She also needs to find Ted, the love of her life.
How will Cassie manage to protect Mia from the insults of Regency people who see her as worthless? And how will she ever find a way for her and Ted and Mia to finally return home?
‘Why oh why did I walk through that damn gate?’ Mia said vehemently. ‘It’s the most stupid thing I ever did.’ She opened her eyes and met my concerned gaze. Her expression had changed; there was colour in her cheeks and her eyes were unusually bright. ‘And why on earth didn’t you warn me about it, Cass?’
My eyes widened; I felt as though she’d slapped me. ‘I told you all about it, how I walked into Regency England.’
‘Well you could at least have suggested somewhere else to go for a walk at the hospital. Then we wouldn’t be in this shit.’
I flinched at her language. Mia quite often swore, but she’d never sworn at me before. And it seemed incongruous to hear her use language like that whilst dressed as a regal lady. But my overwhelming feeling was distress at her unkind words to me. She had never spoken to me like that.
I nodded, a lump as big as a golf ball in my throat and dropped my eyes to the plush carpet on the floor. I didn’t want to look at her. I stood there for a moment, mortification at her treatment of me flooding my face with heat. Then something snapped inside me.
Whatever my mistakes in this era or in the twenty-first century, it wasn’t my fault that we’d both ended up here. I was fed up of being the pariah to everyone – Mia, my parents and most likely my Regency friends – for things I wasn’t responsible for, things I hadn’t done. I met her gaze, my face still hot, but now with anger.
‘There’s no need to speak to me like that, Mia,’ I told her, my voice calm but forceful. ‘It’s not my fault that we time travelled here. How could I possibly have known that if we walked into those woods, we’d find the gate and walk through it?’
Mia shrugged. ‘I don’t know, but here we are.’
‘Yes, here we are and for all I knew I was never going to return here and certainly not with you.’
‘Well I’m sorry that I’m not a pretty little white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes,’ Mia retorted. ‘That would have suited you and your little racist friends perfectly, wouldn’t it?’
I threw my hands in the air with frustration. ‘Come on, Mia, don’t be so ridiculous. How long have we been friends?’
She gave me one of her looks which she usually reserved for other people, resentment oozing out of her. ‘A while.’
‘Since primary school, as you well know. So don’t insult me with crap about preferring “pretty white girls” and having “racist friends”. You’re my best friend and always have been.’ Mia dropped her gaze, seeming to deflate. I reached for her hand again. ‘I know it’s not going to be easy for you here,’ I told her, my voice gentle, ‘but it is 1815 and the slave trade has been abolished. So things are starting to change.’
She nodded. A single tear rolled down her cheek. ‘I’m sorry, Cass, I’m struggling here. It’s just so weird.’ She gave a half laugh, half sob. I laughed too, putting my arms around her and hugging her tight.
‘It is a strange world here. I would say you get used to it, but that’s not entirely true…’ I was going to say more but just then the clock on the mantelpiece struck six o’clock. ‘Crap! We’re late for dinner,’ I exclaimed and charged out of the room towards the stairs, Mia in my wake. (Chapter 4, pages 31-33)
- “I greatly enjoyed all the subtle nods to Jane Austen that Ms. Jeremiah cleverly and skilfully intertwined into her tale, and I definitely look forward to seeing more Austen-inspired works from her in the future!” — Meredith Esparza, Austenesque Reviews (Love Without Time)
- “Charming characters and terrific premise.” — Christina Boyd editor of Rational Creatures
- “I confess that, in the past, I was not a big fan of time travel tales because I had read a few that were not plausible. This is not the case with By Time Divided by Elaine Jeremiah. Not only does Elaine pull it off, but she also created a book that is hard to put down once you start reading. I was anxious to see how Mia would fare in Regency England as well as how Cassie would locate Ted and return them all to the present. I heartily recommend this entertaining book!” — Brenda J. Webb, author of Proof of Love: A Pemberley Tale
Elaine Jeremiah lives in Bristol, South West England with her husband and their golden retriever, Dug. But she was privileged enough to grow up in Jane Austen country, in Hampshire.
Writing has always been a passion of hers, but it’s only been in recent years that she’s been able to devote more time to it. She decided to self-publish with the help of her wonderful husband who’s very tech-savvy! In 2013 she self-published her first novel, but it was only with her fourth, her novel Love Without Time, that she felt she finally found her niche: Jane Austen Fan Fiction!
Are you in the mood for a bit of Regency-era wish fulfillment? If so, By Time Divided might be the perfect choice to transport you back into Jane Austen’s time. I am also intrigued by the experience of the mixed-race secondary character Mia, who is thrown into an era where people of color were classified as personal property unless they were a rich heiress like Miss Lambe in Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon. Austen loved to jab at society’s prejudices with little rubs in her novels. This quote from Mansfield Park is very apt. “Varnish and gilding hide many stains.” She is alluding to the fact that money erases every objection. Let’s hope that there are plenty of Austen-inspired retorts in By Time Divided.
By Time Divided (Love Without Time Book 2), by Elaine Jeremiah
Independently published (July 13, 2019)
Trade paperback & eBook (296) pages
Cover image, book description, and excerpt courtesy of Elaine Jeremiah © 2019; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2019, Austenprose.com