I am in the process of writing the second book in a historical series about Alix Brion, that includes mystery, adventure, and time travel. The idea of travelling through time has always fascinated me. I’d pick up an object from a table or shelf in my antique store and try to imagine who had originally owned it. The oldest object I own is a leather-bound book written in Old French and published in 1681. Think of the many hands that held that book over almost 350 years!
This is the premise behind the books in this series. Alix, a 30ish Canadian-American woman leaves Canada after a much public breakup with her politician fiancé, and returns to New Orleans to help her grandmother, who, due to health issues, cannot manage her antique shop, Willow Twig Antiques. Alix is inordinately suited to such work due to her ability to touch an object and be able to ‘read’ its provenance, its history.
Things go awry when Alix buys an old painting. While in the process of researching the unknown artist, she realizes the signature is pulsing. Throwing all caution to the wind, she grabs on to the painting in order to learn more about it and is catapulted, not only into the world of its artist, Maxine Courtois, but also into her body. The year is 1866, the place, Paris France.
Alix finds herself in the midst of scandal, murder and blackmail. Who can she trust? She needs to learn how to navigate the treacherous societal waters of the mid-19th century, and how to expose the duplicitous actions of a husband who has passed his wife’s work off as his own. All this, while staying alive long enough to figure out how to return to her own time.
In Book Two, Alix is now co-owner of Willow Twig Antiques. She receives a request to appraise an old chair and immediately, upon ‘reading’ it, realizes the chair is not what the customer told her. Unhappy with the appraisal, the client sues her, the business, and her grandmother, and Alix knows that losing such a lawsuit would leave them penniless. She needs to know who created the fake chair and passed it off as a 350-year-old antique.
Though she promised herself she would never time travel again, she has no choice. This time she finds herself thrown into the life and body of Celeste Jordin, and her wealthy but dysfunctional family in 1928 Chicago.
Alix finds the chair is an antique shop that is, in truth, a front for mob boss ‘Mad Bull Cumminsky,’ who launders money from his bootleg and drug operations by ‘buying’ antiques. The shop’s owner has created a fake provenance for the chair and this comes to light when Celeste’s father, Luke, buys it with the intention of donating it to a museum in Chicago. Alix finds herself in a race against Mad Bull as he, afraid the lie will shine a spotlight on his business dealings, attempts to find out who created the chair in order to silence him forever.
Learning the truth isn’t enough, however, as Alix returns home to find all is not what it seems.