After the loss of a child and the end of her marriage, Lucy Stewart doesn’t believe life could get any worse.
Of course, she’s wrong.
Just two weeks after returning to live with her parents on the Island of Guernsey, they inform her they’re taking a “much needed” three month vacation… and she is charged with looking after the ninety-year-old grandfather she barely knows and fears a little.
Surprised but not shocked by her selfish parents, Lucy feels she’ll never be free of her dark depression. However, life begins to brighten for her as she reconnects with old friends, makes new friends, and finds a loving relationship with her grandfather.
Now if she could just make sense of her connection to the woman in the two-hundred-year-old portrait that hangs in her bedroom.
Lucy learns the woman, Mary Carre, is a distant relative who not only lived in the same house, but Lucy now occupies her bedroom. As Lucy gets more and more glimpses into Mary’s sad and tragic life, she doesn’t know if she’s having visions, actually going back in time, or living a past life. But it doesn’t matter. She feels Mary is leading her to something and she’s determined to find out what.
One of the things I admired most in the story was as Lucy shared her experiences with others, no one called her crazy or bonkers even if they were skeptical. Perhaps it was owing to the lore of Guernsey, but people pulled together to support her instead of shunning her.
A compelling read, Her Previous Self has a great sense of balance with Lucy/Mary. While both women suffered through loss and tragedy, and Lucy’s glimpses into Mary’s life were heartbreaking, I believe Lucy became stronger for it, “seeing” Mary live in a time where having no agency over her life only deepened her misery. But, knowing recovery didn’t happen overnight, Lucy knew she could/would recover and make her own choices and decisions.
Excellent writing and pacing made this a one-sitting read that I do recommend!
Two women, living two hundred years apart but closer than sisters.
Mary, miserable in her marriage to Thomas Carre, a merchant and privateer and living in the newly built family mansion in Georgian Guernsey.
Lucy, separated from her husband after a tragic loss and now acting as an unwilling sitter for her elderly grandfather, Gregory Carre, who has inherited the same mansion.
Lucy is haunted by Mary’s continued presence in the house and finds herself being pulled more and more back in time. How is it possible for her to live as Mary? To experience scenes from her tragic life? I forced Lucy to come to terms with Mary’s grief as well as her own.
The more enmeshed she becomes the more anxious Lucy is to discover the truth. Why is Mary still restless? What caused her mysterious disappearance two hundred years ago?
And can Lucy move on from her own loss to find happiness again?
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