This is a disturbing story about the unusual time-travel journey of a seemingly frivolous young woman.
The story starts out in 1950's England. Melanie Langdon is young, pretty and wealthy, with an attentive husband and a new baby. The only shadow in her life is the serious case of tuberculosis she has been battling. When her doctor pronounces her well enough to leave her bed, she welcomes the change of view that her drawing room offers. She settles in on an ornate but ugly Victorian chaise-longue that she discovered in a junk-shop shortly before she fell ill, and falls asleep.
She awakens to find herself in an unfamiliar room, being called by an unfamiliar name. She slowly comes to discover that the year is 1864 and she is now someone named Milly Barnes. The only person or thing she recognizes is the chaise-longue that Milly is confined to...
There is some disturbing death imagery in this book that seems out of place at first but becomes more fitting as Melanie realizes that Milly is dying of tuberculosis. Worse, as the lines defining her life and Milly's life become more blurred, Melanie is fearful that she will not be able to return to the future in time to escape dying in the past. Melanie/Milly finds herself fighting to make sense of her life in strange, terrifying surroundings.
This is a short, suspenseful novel that you will probably want to read in one sitting. Once Melanie found herself in the past I read it more quickly than I would have liked to. I was eager to see if and how Melanie would be able to make it home. I don't think I will be able to forget this book soon and I'll probably wind up reading it again someday.
Even with the time-travel premise, this book reads more like conventional fiction, albeit with a strong leaning towards horror, than it does science fiction. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories with fantastic elements.