I lost touch with this author when this excellent set of historical fiction went out of print. So, I was delighted to find that her books have been reissued in digital form and are accessible once more. Revisiting The Quiet Earth was a real treat, as not only did I devour it the first time around in the 1990s, but also I reread it just as avidly this time around.
Set in the Wye Valley in 1994, Nina is an ecologist working with archaeologists on a site which is about eight centuries old but Nina has some hidden secrets and when her life becomes intertwined with that of Roese and Mark in the thirteenth century you quickly realise that the past is about to encroach on the future.
I loved this story, it's atmospheric and edgy with a delicious creepiness which infuses the page with a real sense of history. The modern day elements, and yes, I realise that 1994 is no longer classed as modern, sits comfortably alongside the historical. For all that it was written twenty two years ago, it does feel, in places, remarkably contemporary, and could still have been written today.
Elizabeth Harris writes dual time narratives very competently and can blend past and present like no other author I know, so that reading her books is like stepping into a superior time travelling machine. Such is the power of her storytelling that you have to occasionally look up from reading to make sure that you are still in the here and now.
I am really thrilled to find that most of Elizabeth Harris's back catalogue is being converted to digital by Endeavour Press, I can't wait to catch up with some old friends.
About the author
Elizabeth Harris was born in Cambridge and brought up in Kent, where she now lives. After graduation she hid a variety of jobs including driving a van, being a lifeguard and working in the Civil Service. She has travelled extensively in Europe and America, and lived for some years in the Far East. Elizabeth Harris was one of the finalists of the 1989 Ian St James Awards. She is an acclaimed writer with many novels to her name. In The Quiet Earth , she deftly weaves the challenges and questions of modern life into those of the distant past, to deliver a story brimming with intrigue, history and romance.
**Elizabeth Harris also writes historical crime fiction as Alys Clare**
My thanks to Endeavour Press and NetGalley for my review copy of this book.