ABOUT THE BOOK
For fans of Matt Haig, Stuart Turton and Bridget Collins comes a sweeping historical adventure from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
‘Original, joyous and horrifying, The Kingdoms is an awe-inspiring feat of imagination and passion which had me in tears by the end’ – Catriona Ward
Come home, if you remember
The postcard has been held at the sorting office for ninety-one years, waiting to be delivered to Joe Tournier. On the front is a lighthouse – Eilean Mor, in the Outer Hebrides.
Joe has never left England, never even left London. He is a British slave, one of thousands throughout the French Empire. He has a job, a wife, a baby daughter.
But he also has flashes of a life he cannot remember and of a world that never existed – a world where English is spoken in England, and not French.
And now he has a postcard of a lighthouse built just six months ago, that was first written nearly one hundred years ago, by a stranger who seems to know him very well.
Joe’s journey to unravel the truth will take him from French-occupied London to a remote Scottish island, and back through time itself as he battles for his life – and for a very different future.
I fell in love with the idea of this story of two parallel time lines for the same place. A breach of history that set two very different possibilities, for the same place and the people that lived there.
Joe stepped off a train in Victorian London, but it wasn’t the London he knew. It was now called Londres, and everyone spoke French, not English. Disoriented and confused, he was diagnosed with a new form of epilepsy, which caused amnesia and had already been diagnosed in a few other people. He found out that he had a wife and baby daughter, whom he couldn’t recollect. When he receives a postcard that the post office has held for 91 years, it simply says, “Come home, if you remember”. The lighthouse had been built a few months ago, yet it is on the postcard. Joe feels a pull to it.
The crack in the timeline sits in the sea, off the shores of the Outer Hebrides’. The lighthouse had been erected mistakingly in the wrong era. Everything revolves around this. The lighthouse is eerie, where both timelines can be heard, like ghosts from the past and future. It is a place where both can be seen by just taking a step to the side. The views are very different.
I found this story fascinating with the tidal wave of changes that had taken place from the breach that had taken place. It wasn’t just the structure it was the people too. Some didn’t exist anymore, whole generations gone. Joe got the opportunity to go to the lighthouse, but what could he do to put things back on course, and would he want to?
There were times that the storyline felt hard to follow, and I had to go over parts again, but I liked the idea of this story. There were some fascinating characters in each timeline. I liked how it all came together. It was a super ending and a story that I enjoyed.
I wish to thank the publisher and Net Galley for an e-copy of this book, which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Natasha Pulley’s first novel The Watchmaker of Filigree Street was a Sunday Times bestseller, won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award. Her second novel, The Bedlam Stacks was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize while The Lost Future of Pepperharrow was published in 2020 to widespread critical acclaim, cementing her reputation as one of the most original and exciting writers at work. She lives in Bristol.