Two Stories, Twice the Fun: Four Can’t-Miss Split Time Novels by Liz Johnson


[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have author Liz Johnson guest posting on the site today. She’s talking all about her favorite split-time novels. Take it away, Liz!]

Split-time novels are some of my favorites! Here are the titles I recommend. 

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

This is the first split time novel I ever read, and for some reason I kept putting off picking it up. Perhaps it was that everyone I knew raved about it, and I was feeling a little contrary. Maybe my TBR pile was just overflowing, and this book couldn’t make it to the top. Whatever the reason, I should have known that I would love it. Afterall, my undying devotion to The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare hasn’t waned since I first read of Kit, the young woman from Barbados who befriends Hannah, an old Quaker woman—and the book’s title character—and her seafaring friend Nat, who refuses to be confined by the Puritan system.

I should have known how much I would love The Shape of Mercy, the story of Lauren, a modern-day college student determined to make her own way, who takes a job transcribing the journal of Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials. Though only her private thoughts remain after four hundred years, Mercy is a fully realized character, and her influence on Lauren’s choices can’t be denied. Meissner deftly weaves together two young women in two unique stories that somehow become one.

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

This is another book that I missed when it first came out. It launched to quiet acclaim, and then all of a sudden it felt like the whole world was reading it, and I missed out. About a year ago, I saw the audio book was available from the library. I snapped it up and listened to it on my commute to work. And I kicked myself for not reading it sooner. 

In this book, the past and the present are joined by a mysterious wedding dress that changes the lives of each of the four women who wear it. I loved the sweet romance and the supernatural elements of this story—especially the man in purple, who somehow appeared in contemporary times just as he did in 1912.

The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

Bookstores, friendship, and the English coast? Yes, please! This delightful story takes us on a modern-day journey to Cornwall, where two women fight to save a failing bookstore. When they discover a 150-year-old journal of an aspiring authoress, they seek to uncover her story and find healing for their own. This is book for booklovers. Filled with books and stories and the truth found in them, it’s a delightful trip through time and pages. I couldn’t put it down.

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

In the aptly titled introduction—“Fair Warning”—an unnamed narrator says that if she tells her tale, “It will be the gift and the curse I bestow upon you. A confession for which you may never forgive me.” Oh, how it’s true. 

The story begins with Anna Anderson, who in 1970 has spent most of her life trying to convince the world that she is Anastasia Romanov, the lost Russian princess. Then suddenly we, the readers, are jolted to 1917 and the cusp of a revolution through the eyes of Anastasia. Back and forth we go from Anna to Anastasia, from a recent history to more than a century ago. Anastasia’s story moves forward as Anna’s goes in reverse. We know at some point they must meet, and then—and only then—will we know the truth. 

The author is a master of time, as she draws these story lines to their convergence, bearing down like the train that carried the Romanovs across Russia. The story is tense and taught and completely engrossing. The characters are vivid and real and so relatable. Ms. Lawhon gave brand new life to a story I’d heard a hundred times. And I could read this book a hundred more times. 

These are four of my favorite split time stories, and I’m always on the lookout for more. What are some of your recommendations?

About the Author:

Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including A Sparkle of Silver, A Glitter of Gold, The Red Door Inn, Where Two Hearts Meet, and On Love’s Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.

A Dazzle of Diamonds by Liz Johnson, out August 4!

Penelope Hunter loves her job as the events manager at one of Savannah’s premier historic venues–until her ex-fiancé walks into her office with his new bride-to-be. To make matters worse, a scheming social matriarch is intent on seeing Penelope fired, especially if she insists on being seen with Tucker Westbrook.

Since returning from serving two tours in the Middle East, Tucker has built a thriving security company. His work is nearly as stabilizing as his friendship with Penelope, who has been by his side since childhood. But when the lone candidate for county sheriff goads him, Tucker loses his cool and ends up on the ballot–and on the receiving end of a smear campaign claiming the Westbrooks were traitors to the South.

To clear his name, Tucker and Penelope must join forces to find the truth behind a 150-year-old lost treasure. But the more time they spend together, the closer she comes to losing her job–and falling helplessly in love.

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