Millicent Glenn’s Story… Why Dual Timelines?

I love books that are written with dual timelines. These books bring that fascinating interplay between the past and present, so I get to have both my historical fiction fix and the fun of reading a contemporary narrative. Two stories in one!

I thought Millicent Glenn’s story was well-suited to being told in dual timelines. And I took it one step further. I created Millicent as the main character in both threads: one when she was a young wife in the 1940s-50s and the other when she was ninety years old. I believe that fictional characters—or real-life aging people, generally—look back on their lives through new eyes. Do you agree?

Do we look back and think we could’ve (or should’ve) done some things differently? Maybe there are secrets and regrets, like in Millicent’s case. Maybe we look back at all we’ve had and all we’ve done with even greater appreciation. Maybe we take lessons from our lives or how the world has or hasn’t changed and pass these down to others we care about.

When an aging character’s life is told in flashback as well as in modern day, we know instinctively that somehow she’s a survivor. Another thing I love about dual timeline stories is this: There’s always hope for a happy—or at least a satisfying—ending.

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