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Twisting timeslip tapestry interweaving epic Anglo-Saxon history with 21st-century supernaturalism
From the bestselling author of Lady of Hay, Barbara Erskine‘s The Dream Weavers is a spellbinding saga that spans centuries through a writer’s eerie connections to Anglo-Saxon King Offa and his indomitable daughter.
In 2021, writer Simon has decamped to a cottage on the English-Welsh border to finish his book about King Offa. Unsettled by noises in the cottage - a woman’s distant voice, banging on doors in the dead of night - he enlists the help of modern-day mystic Bea. In 775 AD, Eadburh, the youngest daughter of ambitious, aggressive King Offa has inherited her father’s ruthless streak, along with unusual gifts from her mother, and it’s not long before these two time periods and gripping stories are seamlessly interwoven, not least when Simon’s daughter vanishes in our time.
While the action is epic, the stakes high, and the historic episodes powerfully evocative, Erskine has an accessible down-to-earth style, with lots of character backstory and side strands feeding into the main narratives. Thronging with mystery, ghostly visions and centuries of secrets, this comes recommended for readers who like historic fiction with meandering intrigue.
The new, gripping historical novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Lady of Hay
A nest of vipers, they called us. But that is not how it was.
Mercia, 775 AD.
In the grand Saxon halls of Mercia, King Offa rules with ruthless ambition. Aggressive and relentlessly acquisitive, his three daughters are destined to marry advantageously in service of their country. Eadburh, the youngest, is neither the cleverest nor the most beautiful of the three. But, with her father's ruthless spirit and the secret gifts passed down from her mother, she is determined to carve her own path in the world.
2021. Simon Armstrong has escaped to a secluded cottage on the English-Welsh borders, desperate to finish his book about Anglo-Saxon King Offa. But he soon finds himself disturbed by unsettling noises and visions. Calling in local expert Bea to identify the issue, Simon hopes to get back some peace - but soon Bea is as embroiled as he is, feeling increasingly connected to a ghostly presence that is growing ever-stronger in its desire for revenge.
And when Simon's daughter disappears, centuries of secrets and resentment begin to tumble out...
An epic tale of deceit, revenge and exile from the queen of timeslip historical fiction.
Time is running out as the past and present collide...
|Publication date:||15th April 2021|
|Publisher:||HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
|Collections:||2021 Preview - Exciting New Books on the Horizon,|
|Primary Genre||Historical fiction|
Closing date: 01/08/2021
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
A sweeping page turner which keeps you on the edge of your seat.
I love Barbara Erskine's books so I was really looking forward to this one. I wasn't disappointed. A sweeping novel switching between the past and present kept me reading late into the night. And the touch of supernatural was different. The characters were well drawn, people you could come to like or dislike. I found myself really wanting to know what was going to happen to them next. Yes, a really good book.
This is the first book I have read by Barbara Erskine, I chose a good one too!
This is the first book I have read by Barbara Erskine, I chose a good one too! We have visited the area of the Marches between England and Wales. It was easy to visualise where the action was taking place. The subject matter was new to me and a little frightening.
The book was I think the newest in a long line of books Barbara Erskine has written. It was well written and its characters well defined, the writing was a joy to read. As for the story, it was out of this world and in ancient Kingdoms with different beliefs and ways. The characters were real but I felt their pain, their distress, but with Bea I felt safe, confident that she would win through before we got to the end of the book.
The baddy, Sandra, intent on destroying Bea and her effort was really scary.
I went through so many emotions with this book... the first of the genre I have read. I have already ordered more Babara Erskine books.
For all lovers of timeslip novels. A book to lose yourself in and not to be missed. Read and enjoy.
Delighted to review the latest book by Barbara Erskine, one of my favourite authors. As with all her books, there is a delicious mix of dual time, historical, romance and intrigue. It’s bound to set Erskine’s many followers, together with new devotees, up for a perfect escape from the depression of the present time.
Set in 775AD, Eadburh is fighting for the right to marry the man she chooses, while in 2021 Simon rents a secluded cottage on the English/Welsh border looking for peace as he tries to finish writing his book about the Anglo-Saxon King Offa. But peace is the last thing that Simon finds as he settles into the cottage. What has all of this to do with his daughter, Emma? And can local expert Bea help to find answers?
Erskine’s ability to intertwine past and present with such fine detail pulls the reader into the story and keeps them there. When writing about two time periods it is difficult retain the reader’s interest in both timelines but Erskine is a past master at this and has no problems at all. Her easy writing style is a joy to read.
A classic Erskine, to be savoured. Readers won’t be surprised to discover themselves rooted to a cosy chair, unable to continue with their own life until they have discovered what happens next. Highly recommended.
Anglo Saxon fact embroidered with imaginative fiction create a wonderful, cleverly written novel.
The Dream Weavers combines a doomed, 1200 year old love story, hauntings, supernatural powers, a 21st century author and an Anglo Saxon mystery.
Simon is an historical scholar and writer who rents a remote cottage on the Welsh boarders to complete his book on Offa’s Dyke. However he soon becomes aware of a ghostly voice, mournfully calling a name. He is put in contact with Bea, wife of a prominent clergyman, and possessor of the ability to reach back in time and watch history as it happens. Simon’s teenage daughter comes to stay and becomes drawn into an increasingly dangerous situation.
Hats off to the author who manages to sew together scanty Anglo Saxon fact with imaginative narrative thread to create a thoroughly enjoyable read.
A touching novel of historical love, and present-day spirituality
I hadn’t read any Barbara Erskine before so I didn’t really know what to expect from this book, but once I started it I just couldn’t stop! It’s set in two time periods – 788 CE and 2021 – with strong and spiritual women to the forefront in each.
It was really interesting to see the role of women in the time of Offa and shocking to see the reality of royal women used as bargaining chips in uniting kingdoms. I very much liked that we got to see ordinary women too, whether they be servants or abbesses. The characters in both eras all seemed very much alive; real people with both good and bad in them.
The modern era was equally interesting, again with an emphasis on the women in the story, and looking at the role of spirituality in the present day. It really made me think about how history is recorded and that it’s as much the story of ordinary people as royal figures, and of women as well as men.
There’s a lot of love in the book, of many different kinds, but the heart of the novel is in an enduring love that drives the couple in many dangerous directions. I found it very touching and shed a few tears on a couple of occasions. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical novels with strong female protagonists.
A wonderful story set in Saxon and present day that is a real page-turner, with romance, treachery and mystery. It has it all!
Bea is in two worlds - Present day, and she also finds herself back over a thousand years in the Kingdom of Mercia, where there is romance, mystery and treachery.
Trying to reconcile her arcane beliefs and dreams with being a Canon Treasurers wife living in the Cathedral Close has its own problems for Bea too in her present world.
This is an historical and contemporary story that has it all - thoroughly reccomended.
Praise for Barbara Erskine:
'Her forte is mood, atmosphere and the toe-curling frisson' Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times
'Barbara Erskine's storytelling talent is undeniable' The Times
'Marvellous escapist stuff' Woman and Home
Barbara Erskine was our Guest Editor in July 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing. An historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of thirteen novels, at once demonstrating her interest in history and the supernatural, plus four collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty-six languages. Barbara’s first novel, Lady of Hay, has sold over three million copies worldwide to date. She lives in Hay-on-Wye. Author photo © Karolina WebbMore About Barbara Erskine