Rosie Hartford is a journalist sent on an assignment to interview a woman about her having lived for fifty years on the same housing estate. As she walks to the front-door, she blacks out and when she comes around she finds that she's back in the 1950's.
This is nothing like The Orchard on Fire even though they're both set in the same time: while that book really evoked the feel of a bygone age, this feels more like it's paying lip-service to it: or at least, it's a very modern perspective on what 1950's Britain might have been like.
Rosie herself begins by assuming that she's the subject of some joke, or reality-TV experiment, and is looking for hidden cameras to confirm her suspicions (a bit like the way that people who have night-terrors explain them using cultural tropes of the time). We get a lot of stuff about how much drudgery there is with cleaning and cooking. She complains that she's having to sleep under sheets and blankets, and that on laundry day, you get one clean sheet: you put your bottom sheet in the washing, move your top sheet to the bottom, and use the clean one as your new top sheet.
The story was very much in the Life on Mars mould: Rosie gradually accepts that she's really in the 50's, and gets caught up in various dramas that are unfolding. Some of it has a slightly dream-like feel because characters she meets appear to be the same people (or at least, if it were TV, they'd be played by the same actors) as she knows "in real life".
When she does return, everyone tells her that she's been unconscious for some time, so perhaps it was all a dream. But that wouldn't explain....
It was mildly diverting but not a great book really.
Completed : 11-Dec-2013 (audiobook)