The House of Now and Then by Jo Dixon. (2023).
**4 out of 5 stars**
**Thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review; published 4 January 2023**
After a humiliating public scandal, Olivia is hiding in a remote Tasmanian house when an unknown man knocks on her door seeking a Pippa. His father Jeremy has died and left a letter for her. Olivia is drawn into solving the mystery and at the same time a path to reclaiming her own life appears. 30 years earlier, bohemian wild-child Pippa and best friend Jeremy spend a summer at the house, and Pippa falls for local boy Leo. Leo’s conservative and controlling family don’t approve and one night when Leo goes to confront them, he disappears and is never seen again…
Once you’ve read this story you’ll be shocked to find out it is the author’s debut novel because it is so well-written; there’s a reason it is receiving such high praise across the board! Alternating dual timelines, readers will be completely drawn into the mystery of what happened to missing young man Leo, with many twists along the easy. Meanwhile the contemporary timeline covers the dramas Olivia is dealing with after being forced into the public eye in a sex scandal – this storyline was a timely reminder of the price one can pay when the media paints a person in a certain light. It’s a gripping book and one that I didn’t want to put down.
Overall: highly recommend this Australian mystery dual timeline novel which is a fabulous debut for the author.