This genre-defying novel by first-time author Jill Rowan is hard to sum up : fantasy/ supernatural/soft science-fiction, with a touch of romance, and time travel (thus both contemporary and historical). This blend creates a wholly satisfying read, captivating and original. The heroine, Fallady, is mature, smart, resourceful, and rational throughout : there are no contrived conflicts or silly secrets. Within this strange universe, Fallady acts logically. Other characters are also well-drawn : the people she loves are kind and attractive, her friends are sympathetic, by-standers, villagers and staff are intriguing. Several eighteenth century characters are unusually (if not implausibly) open-minded but it's all part of the charm. It's easy to identify with self-described « corpulent » Fallady who is ready for a midlife change, and fascinating to explore the mystery that awaits her in her new surroundings. The believer/atheist opposition is a theme rarely found in popular fiction and is here treated with respect and balance. The tone is light and humorous, slightly reminiscent of Barbara Michaels' early novels. All in all, a most enjoyable read.