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REVIEW OF PAST RECALL: WHEN LOVE AND WISDOM TRANSCEND TIME
AuthorHouse Books, 2003
Reading Past Recall by Nita Hughes, I was transported to another time
and dimension that went far beyond the strong story line and sympathetic
characters; in fact, I found myself so involved with the lives of
thirteenth-century Clotilde de Mirepoix and her modern-day counterpart,
Dana Palmer, I began to dream about them!
Clotilde and Dana are on separate, but related, heroine's journeys to
reclaim a secret so profound it can literally change the world. But
there are no guarantees of success. In the eyes of the medieval Roman
Catholic Church authorities as well as those of her envious neighbors,
Clotilde and her Cathar friends and family are heretics, no better than
later, living in the southern United States and reeling from the recent
breakup of her engagement, photographer Dana Palmer is also an
outsider. As she contemplates her next step as a single woman without a
real sense of direction, Dana feels strangely drawn to the Cathars and
their inclusive spirituality, beliefs that were the forerunners of many
"New Age" ideas today. When she is suddenly offered an assignment to
photograph historic sites in southern France for a commissioned article
series on the Cathars, Dana cannot ignore the call.
France, and in an effort to concentrate on her work rather than her
personal life, Dana throws herself into the assignment. Seemingly safe
behind her camera lens, Dana tries to mask any untoward excitement she
feels from being in Cathar country at last. Instead, she focuses on
getting the perfect shot and proving she can fulfill her professional
obligations. But the camera is quick to disarm her, as she discovers
when her first rolls of film are developed, and Dana is plunged into a
mystery only she can solve. Together with her colleague, Eric Taylor,
who is as much of an enigma to Dana as the peculiar and disturbing sense
of déjà vu she encounters around almost every corner, Dana comes to
realize that life is more than what she can view through a camera; there
are forces afoot much stranger and more powerful than our ordinary
comprehension can perceive. As she makes one unsettling discover after
another, Dana is pulled into both a physical and a mystical test of
self-discovery that carries the reader right along with her.
thoroughly modern woman, Dana is still deeply feminine, as is her
kindred spirit from the past, the gentle yet fiercely loyal, Clotilde.
The contrast of the two women set against their respective time frames
and patriarchal challenges-Dana trying to save a spiritual treasure from
the greedy, suspect archaeologist, Benjamin Carter, while Clotilde is
literally trying to save her life in a world gone mad-will provide
plenty for group discussion. Whether the topic turns to history,
spirituality, or the role of women in brutal times, Past Recall makes an
excellent choice for a book club or discussion group.
Clotilde and Dana, Nita Hughes has woven a magical narrative tapestry.
Set against a backdrop of passion and fear, spiritual insight and the
courage of faith, Clotilde's terrifying struggles to survive the
political machinery of her day makes for a genuinely compelling drama.
No less vivid are the scenes of Dana Palmer traveling through more
peaceful present-day France in search of Clotilde's legacy. Many of the
travel sequences are portrayed so realistically (and deliciously!)
readers will feel they've truly stepped into the French countryside.
I wanted to
savor this book, and read it slowly in the same way I would enjoy a good
meal or a glass of wine. Rather than rushing through in my usual
reading style, I wanted to take the time to fully appreciate the
research and work that went into creating such a believable and powerful
story. I'm glad I did.
This is a marvelous work combining romance, travel, metaphysics, and
yes-the meaning of life. For me Past Recall is one of those alchemical
reads that left me a different person than when I first opened its
pages. The title is apt, making me recall the characters and their
lives with a deep sense of "what if?" and wondering if we really do
hold the power to "change the world."
regret? That it had to end! Maybe we can expect a sequel?