Louisa Casson is having a hard time dealing with the death of her grandmother, her only childhood caretaker, and finds herself on South Downs cliffs. A storm hits and Louisa falls down the cliffs, she is badly hurt and interned at Coldbrook Hall, a private psychiatric hospital believed to be a suicide risk. Louisa, who was a medical student before she took care of her grandmother struggles to fit in with the uncompassionate staff and irresponsible medical techniques. Some patients at Coldbrook help Louisa cope. One patient shows Louisa the abandoned sector of Coldbrook that served as a hospital during World War I, in this section Louisa finds a room that doesn't look abandoned- and it's not. Inside, she finds Lieutenant Robert Lovett suffering from shell shock and temporary blindness. Louisa finds that she has somehow traveled to 1916 through Robert's room; however Robert is the only one she can interact with. After another fall Louisa finds herself in 1917, now she is in France as a VAD nurse, Rose Ashby. While learning the ins and outs of her new life, she frantically tries searching for Robert again, and wondering which timeline she really belongs to.
Beyond the Moon is a sweeping time travel romance. Told through alternating views of Louisa and Robert, it seems like the pair might be doomed to be apart in time or space. From the beginning, Louisa's journey captivated me. Her passion and willingness to help others shone through. When Louisa first found Robert, I was worried that it would prolong her time in the psychiatric unit or make her believe that she really did need to be there. Robert's character is kind and confident. I loved the first few times that Louisa and Robert were able to be together in 1916, even though no one else was able to see or interact with Louisa, their friendship and romance was able to progress naturally. Once Louisa falls into 1917 again, the story picks up pace. I enjoyed seeing Louisa, now living as Rose Ashby, adapt to life 100 years prior and take on the responsibilities of a VAD nurse. Here, the historical aspects of the story also come to life as the conditions of the field hospital and the patients they received are described in realistic and historically accurate detail. Robert's experience on the front and as a Prisoner of War was also absorbing, the scenes in the trenches and on the front lines brought the grittiness of the war to light. Even though Louisa and Robert are both firmly in 1917, it seemed they might still be kept apart, the suspense of them finding one another again kept me rapt right until the end. I thought the method of time travel and the explanation for Louisa slipping through time was fascinating as well.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.