A Shape on the Air by Julia Ibbotson / #Extract #BlogTour @rararesources @JuliaIbbotson


Dr DuLac series Book 1

A haunting Anglo-Saxon time-slip of mystery and romance

Can echoes of the past threaten the present? They are 1500 years apart, but can they reach out to each other across the centuries? One woman faces a traumatic truth in the present day. The other is forced to marry the man she hates as the ‘dark ages’ unfold.

How can Dr Viv DuLac, medievalist and academic, unlock the secrets of the past? Traumatised by betrayal, she slips into 499 AD and into the body of Lady Vivianne, who is also battling treachery. Viv must uncover the mystery of the key that she unwittingly brings back with her to the present day, as echoes of the past resonate through time. But little does Viv realise just how much both their lives across the centuries will become so intertwined. And in the end, how can they help each other across the ages without changing the course of history?




This is an extract from the first chapter of my book, A Shape on the Air. Dr Viv DuLac has just had a strange experience, voices echoing in her head seemingly from somewhere centuries ago, and someone calling her Lady Vivianne.  She arrives home from her job at the university as a senior lecturer in medieval studies and awaits her beloved partner, Pete, who is returning from an IT conference in Belgium. But when he arrives, all does not go to plan … 

He grimaced. “But … oh god …I’m sorry, I am really sorry, although you may not believe it right now, but … I don’t know how to say this. It’s just that I can’t go on living a lie.” He took a deep breath.

A lie? What do you mean?” Her whole body was shivering, but this time not with desire but with fear.

“Oh, Viv. I’ll always love you, as a friend, y’know, whatever happens.” As a friend? Whatever happens?

Pete reached down and took her hand in his, but, glancing at her face, immediately dropped it again. “There’s no easy way to say this.” He looked down into her eyes and she saw a flicker of something horribly frightening there. Dark. Cold. A stranger. “I’m leaving you.”

What?” The kitchen seemed to be shifting dizzyingly around her. The walls wouldn’t keep still. The floor felt as if it were shuddering as her legs trembled.

“Viv. Look.  Sorry, but … I’ve got someone else.”

What? He was having an affair?  Good god. He couldn’t be! She’d had no notion, no suspicion of anything like that. She’d been sure he was so faithful, so loyal, so principled. After all, she’d known him since they were at school together. He was a part of her. Viv, Pete – they were one. She knew him so thoroughly; she knew his thoughts, his desires, his worries. Didn’t she? Surely she would have suspected something. She was an intelligent woman, wasn’t she? She would have known. How could she not have known? This was surely a madness.

No, it couldn’t possibly be true.  But he said he’d found someone else. What alternative meaning could that have? 

She was swaying, buffeted by pushing, urgent waves. Water crashing over her, swamping her in fear. She was drowning.

She had to clutch on to the back of the high kitchen bar chair to keep her balance. She knew that her mouth was gaping open. Her brain seemed out of gear. Someone else

“What? Who?”

He made a dismissive gesture with his hand, as if it didn’t matter, but she kept staring at him, and she saw him crumble.

“It’s Gwyn.”

“Gwyn?” she echoed blankly. “My Gwyn?” What the hell was he doing? Gwyn, from university, along with Ellie, three of them pals, helping each other through broken relationships, awful boyfriends, disasters, a hundred triumphs. “My uni friend Gwyn? No. Good god!”

She knew her face was expressive and that her expression right now was of horror and disbelief. Even disgust. She snatched her hand to her breast and shrank back. This was a stranger standing in front of her, in her kitchen, for god’s sake. A lightning strike of memory of his love-making, his kisses, his touch, all now for someone else, for Gwyn, jolted a shock of electricity down her spine.

She felt sick.

Pete sighed and she could hear the impatience, all pretence of softness gone. All imitations of caring gone. Lip curling now. Sneering. “Yes, of course ‘your’ Gwyn. How many others are there?”

His face looked somehow unfamiliar.  Blank. Hard. He moved away from the door.

Everything seemed to Viv to drift out of focus.

“Pete …!” She could hear the pleading in her voice and hated it.

He swung around towards her and looked at her as though he was surprised she was still standing there.


“I just don’t know what to say … Why …?” She clutched the chair back hard with both hands.

“Viv, please don’t start anything.” He sighed. “I’m sorry and all that, I’ve tried to be nice to you, but you just have to deal with it. Listen. Move on. I’ll be back in a few days when you’re a bit calmer. I’ll have to get my stuff and make arrangements.”

“Back? Arrangements?”

“Well, obviously we’ll have to sort out the sale of the flat.”

“Sale of the flat?” Her voice echoed his words around her head.

“Viv, I need the money. I’m not just going to give you the flat!” He turned to go, stooping to pick up his briefcase in the hall. “For the business. We’re expanding. You know that.” He spoke deliberately slowly as if she were a child, then twisted round to her. “And, listen, please don’t try to ring me. I’ll be at Gwyn’s place and I don’t want you pestering her.” For a moment he stared at her, mouth twisted, and she watched as his lips curled up, baring his teeth. She thought she was watching an animal snarling his attack. This wasn’t her Pete. Not the Pete she knew. Was he having a breakdown or something? She shivered violently.

Viv heard the front door slam shut behind him and sank on to the bar chair. She felt as bleak and cold and empty as she had twenty years ago, when she was nine years old and her grandmother had told her that her parents were dead …

Thank you, Julia Ibbotson and Rachel’s Random Resources


About the author

Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and the concept of time. She sees her author brand as a historical fiction writer of romantic mysteries that are evocative of time and place, well-researched and uplifting page-turners. Her current series focuses on early medieval time-slip/dual-time mysteries. Julia read English at Keele University, England, specialising in medieval language/ literature/ history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. After a turbulent time in Ghana, West Africa, she became a school teacher, then a university academic and researcher. Her break as an author came soon after she joined the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme in 2015, with a three-book deal from Lume Books (Endeavour) for a trilogy (Drumbeats) set in Ghana in the 1960s. She has published three other books, including A Shape on the Air, an Anglo-Saxon timeslip mystery, and its two sequels The Dragon Tree and The Rune Stone. Her work in progress is the first of a new series of Anglo-Saxon mysteries (Daughter of Mercia) where echoes of the past resonate across the centuries. Her books will appeal to fans of Barbara Erskine, Pamela Hartshorne, Susanna Kearsley, and Christina Courtenay. Her readers say: ‘Julia’s books captured my imagination’, ‘beautiful story-telling’, ‘evocative and well-paced storylines’, ‘brilliant and fascinating’ and ‘I just couldn’t put it down’.


Author Links

Amazon Author page:  Author.to/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

Author website & blog: www.juliaibbotsonauthor.com

Facebook (author):  https://www.facebook.com/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/julia.ibbotson

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

Goodreads author page:  https://www.goodreads.com/juliaibbotson



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