Book Review: The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

About the Book:

Come home, if you remember.

The postcard has been held at the sorting office for ninety-one years, waiting to be delivered to Joe Tournier. On the front is a lighthouse – Eilean Mor, in the Outer Hebrides.

Joe has never left England, never even left London. He is a British slave, one of thousands throughout the French Empire. He has a job, a wife, a baby daughter.

But he also has flashes of a life he cannot remember and of a world that never existed – a world where English is spoken in England, and not French.

And now he has a postcard of a lighthouse built just six months ago, that was first written nearly one hundred years ago, by a stranger who seems to know him very well.

Joe’s journey to unravel the truth will take him from French-occupied London to a remote Scottish island, and back through time itself as he battles for his life – and for a very different future.

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Released August 2021

My Thoughts:

I’m quite partial to a time travel themed story, but they are a tricky beast to get right. They can’t be over complicated and in the same vein, they can’t be over simplified either – this is all for my liking, of course. I want to be absorbed in the tale and imagine that there is some chance, no matter how slim, that this might happen without everything becoming so technical and complicated that I have to overthink it to the point where I know for sure that it just isn’t credible at all. In The Kingdoms, the time travel was clever and entirely believable. I could envisage what was happening and imagine a world in which it was possible. That’s how well written this novel is.

The Kingdoms is historical fiction at its finest. A sophisticated plot that reimagines an alternate history wherein Napoleon was not defeated, and France now rules over most of Europe and all the United Kingdom. But the plot threads are many, because remember, this is a time travel story, so there is more than one version of events unspooling. The characters are so compelling, the lines of good versus evil blurred when the fate of the world is at stake. The world building within this novel is incredible, I was in awe of the author’s vision and imagination.

At the heart of this novel is a connection between two people that stretches across time and worlds, even piercing through lost memories. It was stunning and so incredibly heartfelt. That moment where it all falls into place, and all is revealed, had me in tears. This is such a wonderful novel, a brilliant blend of historical and speculative fiction that I urge fans of both genres to read.


Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

  1. I tend to dislike time travel stories, I find they get very muddled as the author tries to keep track of what is going on, and when! But I have enjoyed earlier stories by Pulley, so I might give this one a go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really depends for me on how well it’s written. I’m definitely not against alternate history time travel. A couple of my favourite TV series are exactly that: 12 Monkeys and The Man in the High Castle.


  2. Pingback: Top 15 Books of my 2022 Reading Year | Theresa Smith Writes

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