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A novel for anyone who's ever believed that two people are destined for each other, that passion has no end, and that true love never dies...
It was an accidental detour inspired by one of Gally's frequent panic attacks that sent her husband, Mike, down a twisting lane to the abandoned country cottage. From the moment she saw it, Gally felt a peace she hadn't known in years and the inexplicable sense that she had finally come home. As her husband works at their new home's ...
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A novel for anyone who's ever believed that two people are destined for each other, that passion has no end, and that true love never dies...
It was an accidental detour inspired by one of Gally's frequent panic attacks that sent her husband, Mike, down a twisting lane to the abandoned country cottage. From the moment she saw it, Gally felt a peace she hadn't known in years and the inexplicable sense that she had finally come home. As her husband works at their new home's restoration, Gally finds herself growing unexpectedly close to an eighty-three-year-old man named Ferney. How could she become so attached to a virtual stranger? And why does Ferney seem to know her better than she knows herself? Through Ferney's old stories Gally finds herself transported to a distant past where two lovers made a vow even death could not break. Soon Gally will face a life-and-death dilemma that has followed her and Ferney down through the centuries. It will be a moment of decision that will forever change not only their lives but the lives of all they touch.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A lyrical and passionate tale."
-- Booklist

"A bittersweet story, Ferney leaves the reader with hope that in the darkest night, those who stay with their principles will be rewarded with the brightest light. Mr. Long has written a special, different novel."
-- Midwest Book Review

-- Publishers Weekly

"A story of love and self-discovery that resonates across the ages."
-- Nicholas Evans author of The Horse Whisperer

Look for the next James Long novel

Silence and Shadows

Coming in spring 2001

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The nature of the self, the ownership of history, the endurance of love--these are some of the themes touched upon in Long's engrossing if somewhat disturbing tale of lovers separated by history. Mike Martin, a lecturer in history in London, and his young wife, Gabriela Gally, are searching for the English country cottage that Mike hopes will assuage both his wife's sorrow from her miscarriage and the midnight terrors she suffers, nightmares apparently brought on by witnessing her father's death when she was a child. The intuitive and sometimes impulsive Gally is unaccountably attracted to a stone house in complete disrepair, and her rational and deductive husband buys it for her, despite his reservations. Mike and Gally move into an old trailer and begin renovating the cottage, and they conceive a child the first night they spend on their property. The cottage is in Penselwood, a village at a crossroads in British history, and Mike's ideas about historical facts are challenged immediately when he and his wife meet Ferney Miller, an 83-year-old man who insists that the people of Penselwood retain "folk memories" that are truer than written documentation. When Mike decides to write a book about the changes wrought by innovations in farm implements, Ferney persuasively argues that the real innovation was the domestication of the horse, but he can't offer Mike any proof to confirm the notion. As it turns out, Ferney and Gally have other reasons to believe they understand history better than Mike, and despite the vast differences in Gally's and Ferney's ages, their deepening friendship threatens the Martins' marriage. Just how Ferney and Gally are related becomes clear midway through the book, but the puzzle of Gally's recurring nightmares and the mysteries of Ferney's life--the unexplained disappearance of his wife 57 years earlier and the motive behind the murder of a blacksmith--are not revealed until the final surprising pages. The highlights of the novel are Long's forays into history, as he makes imaginative use of time travel to bring his characters to life in different eras of British history. While the ending is somewhat disquieting, and Long's prose is merely workaday, the unfolding mystery and the clever handling of the complex plot make for a provocative tale. June Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kathe Robin
The lyrical prose makes this a tender and bittersweet tale of reincarnations and the power of love. Ferney can truly lift the spirits. Readers will feel hopeful that those they love will somehow, some way find one another.
Romantic Times
Don D'Ammassa
If you need a break from two fisted adventure, dueling sorcerers, magical quests, dragons and elves and the other accoutrements of modern fantasy, here's a low key, brilliantly written, and quietly satisfying contemporary tale.
Science Fiction Chronicle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553581416
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

James Long is the author of four acclaimed thrillers in England. Ferney is his American debut. A former BBC correspondent, he lives in England.
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Read an Excerpt

Gally felt safe inside the house and though she turned quickly when she heard Mike's gasp, she was not nearly so startled by the old man's sudden presence as he was. When they shared their impressions afterwards she found herself unable to tell Mike the complete truth. They both saw the same man, and on a physical level they both recorded the same information. He was shorter than Mike, a shade under six feet tall, and if his age had started to shrink him, so far it seemed only to have condensed his vitality into a more concentrated form. He looked fit and weathered and his eyes of seafaring blue had escaped the watery weakening of the years. They burned from a face that was tanned and sculpted by the wind over strong cheekbones and a square jaw. Hair flecked dark amongst the grey might have led you to guess his age at somewhere in the sixties and miss the target by a score of years.

Mike saw an authority that made him feel callow, tongue-tied and defensive. Feeling they had been caught where they had no right to be, his own uncertainty sketched a fierceness onto his image of the man's face that, by any objective standard, was certainly not there. Mike felt like an urban intruder. The man who stood staring at him looked as if he owned the place--and not just the house, perhaps, but everywhere round about.

Gally was a searcher of faces. In London she would scan crowds restlessly, incessantly, in shops, on the underground or simply walking down the street. In the first few seconds of Ferney's appearance in her life, she decided there was more to find in this man's face than in any she had ever seen before. Afterwards, when she had time to sort out the tumult he raised in her, she remembered patience coupled with strength; a philosopher king with a sword in one hand and a book of verse in the other. That sounded fanciful enough, but what she really couldn't tell Mike was that a certainty had come bursting into her the moment she'd seen him that this was someone important whom she had been hoping to see for a long time, as if a favourite uncle had finally returned from years abroad.

The old man said nothing and Gally recovered her wits first. "I'm sorry," she told him. "We were just being nosy. Is this yours?"

He continued to weigh her impassively, then his gaze softened a fraction. "No," he said. "Not now."

She smiled at him. "I love it," she said. "It's just . . . well, beautiful."

He looked around, sniffed and looked back at her, searching her face.

"My name's Gabriella Martin," she said, "and this is Mike, my husband."

He just nodded and continued to stare as if used to disappointment.

"And you are?" she prompted, gently.

"My name," he said, with an odd inflection that said other definitions of himself were possible, "is Ferney."

She knew as soon as she heard that name, as a certainty and no longer as a whim, that this was someone she would like very much. Astonished at this, she fended him off with words to give herself space. "It's so sad it should be left to fall apart," she said. "Do you know whose it is?"

"I do. It's private property," he said and she waited, but that was all.

"I'm sorry," said Mike. "Look, Gally, I think we should go and . . ." but the old man's head lifted sharply.

"Gally? Who's Gally?"

She laughed. "That's what I'm always called. I'm sorry, Mike's right. We shouldn't be here."

"No, no. Who gave you that name?" the old man said and she couldn't tell whether it was excitement or anger in his voice.

"I . . . well, I think I gave it to myself. It was all I could say when I was very little." She looked at him in surprise. "I'm sorry if we're trespassing. We ought to go."

But suddenly he didn't want that. "There's no need," he said and now his face relaxed. "No one will mind. Mrs. Mullard, she has the rights to this house now. She lives way down by Buckhorn Weston--never comes up here these days. You look round all you like."

"It's just that we want to buy somewhere in the country, you see. Mike's away a lot and I don't want to bring up a family in the town."

The old man stared at her, seemingly transfixed. "You're having a baby?"

Mike froze inside, watching to see how she would respond. Since the miscarriage, babies had been landmines, surrounding them on all sides. Every casual reference had the capacity to hurl Gally into a deep pit of sadness. Every diaper advertisement or passing baby carriage could trigger tears. Now, to his utter astonishment, she laughed at the old man's interest.

"No, not right away. It's just an idea at the moment."

Ferney was still looking hard at her and a slow smile that seemed to stretch long disused muscles spread across his face. For a moment, until he blinked hard, his eyes caught the light with a faint sheen of tears.

Mike never understood the effortless process by which Gally and the old man stitched it all up between them without, it seemed, using conventional conversation at all. Ten minutes of half-sentences and oblique words left him nothing more than a baffled observer. At the end of it they said goodbye to Ferney at the gate and the old man ambled off up the lane. Mike tugged the gate closed, the rotten string that stood in for a hinge gave way and the whole gate sagged sideways, twisting, diamond-shaped, into the hedge.

"There," she said triumphantly, "you've broken it. Now we'll have to buy it."

He was on the defensive, irritated at being somehow excluded. Certain that she would want to talk about the possibilities, he was preparing a relentlessly logical defence but instead, when they drove off, she went into some sort of a dream. They joined the main road at the same construction site, but this time it had no effect on Gally. That was a relief to him and he left well enough alone. In the end his lecture notes muscled themselves back into his thoughts and all the way to London his mind barely left them except for odd, unguarded moments when it drifted briefly to America and what might have been.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    I highly recommend this book if you like history and haunting tales of love.

    A different and very haunting love story. I couldn't put it down. I do think this book needs a sequel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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