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In Another Time

Review

In Another Time

New from Caroline Leech, author of the Scottish young adult historical fiction novel WAIT FOR ME, comes a new historical romance set in WWII-era Scotland. Fans of CODE NAME VERITY, SALT TO THE SEA, FRONT LINES and MARE’S WAR will fall in love with this new novel about female empowerment, a surprising romance and finding yourself in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Maisie McCall, desperately seeking to escape the suffocation of her father’s control, runs away from home to join an organization --- any organization --- that would allow her to provide aid to the soldiers of the Allied Army fighting bravely in World War II. However, as an inexperienced girl of 17, Maisie is placed in the Women’s Timber Corp, a group that trains women to be lumberjills in the forests of Scotland. Yes, lumberjills. Scottish women of all ages and backgrounds trained to cut down trees and provide lumber for the country whose ports have been blockaded by enemy armies.

"Leech creates a vivid story that simultaneously highlights a part of history that was almost forgotten and speaks to present day social themes of mental health, feminism and independence."

Maisie is placed into a training camp where she learns the proper way to cut down a tree, acquires blisters that would make most women faint in disgust and enjoys her newfound freedom. Soon Maisie and her closest friend Dot are transferred to a real camp where they work as full-fledged lumberjills and develop deep bonds with their fellow lumberjills…and the Canadian lumberjacks working in the same camp. One particular tree chopper, a poet with a mysterious background named John Lindsay, catches Maisie’s eye one night at a dance. Sparks quickly fly between the two timber workers as they dance clumsily together, but just as quickly, John pulls away, putting perplexing distance between him and Maisie. To Maisie, it seems that every time she and John begin to get closer, he pulls away. That is until John opens up about the secret he had been keeping and the two must learn to work through the pain of war to keep their developing love alive.

This book is the perfect blend of the best parts of different young adult genres: a contemporary book without so much of the fluff, a romance that sets up the couple as equal partners, a historical fiction without the tedious accounts of historical events. Leech creates a vivid story that simultaneously highlights a part of history that was almost forgotten and speaks to present day social themes of mental health, feminism and independence. Maisie is a powerful character who truly demonstrates female empowerment as she takes initiative to gain her own independence and prove herself to be equally as capable and deserving as the men in her same field of work. John’s struggle with the secrets of his past opens up a powerful discussion from the author on PTSD and the long-lasting effects of war, as well as how it affects the family and friends of the veterans.

In the author’s note, Caroline Leech describes her style of writing historical fiction saying, “My stories are not so much what did happen but what could have happened in a particular time and place.” This is what makes this story so powerful and realistic. As many times as I learned about World War II in school, I never learned about the Women’s Timber Corps or other organizations that employed women in the war effort. But it really happened, and readers of this novel become educated to the powerful role that many women played in World War II.

A refreshing novel set in the Scottish Highlands, IN ANOTHER TIME will appease both lovers of history and contemporary as it tells the intriguing and empowering tale of a lost part of history.

Reviewed by Ellie T., Teen Board Member on September 4, 2018

In Another Time
by Caroline Leech