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A Traveller In Time
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A Traveller In Time

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,122 ratings  ·  79 reviews
While visiting Thackers Manor in 1934, dreamy Penelope becomes involved in a 16th century plot to rescue Mary, Queen of Scots. A beloved time travel story that has endured for generations.
Paperback, 286 pages
Published 1997 by Puffin Books (first published 1939)
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Sarah Sammis
You'll probably notice the different spelling. I'm going with the British spelling as A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley is a British novel. As the title implies, the novel is a time travel story but the time travel is a method for uniting the present (1934) with a wonderfully told historical fiction set around the Babington Plot.

Penelope Thacker is a bit fey as apparently all the Penelopes in the Thacker family and she begins to experience things from the past but try as she might, she canno
I don't think this is a well-known fantasy novel, but it certainly deserves to be. When Penelope stays with her aunt and uncle at Thackers farm, she slips back in time to the 16th century, when the Babington family lived at Thackers and plotted to help Mary Queen of Scots, imprisoned by Elizabeth I. Uttley evokes both Penelope's life on the farm and her experiences in Tudor England with a sure touch and lovely language, and although A Traveller in Time is quietly written, it's haunting and emoti ...more
Pondering Pig Newton
Is there an American anywhere in this country who lives in the same house where his great-grandmother was born? This story is set in a world so foreign to us it might as well be fantasy, a world where families and the land they live on are deeply bound together -- forever, it would seem. A self-sufficient world where money is nearly irrelevant. Actually, it is the common world as people experienced it before the Industrial Revolution -- when most never travelled farther than a day's walk from ho ...more
Feeling a bit overcome by stress this time of year, I decided I needed to escape into a classic British children's book, books which are not just for children, after all. For the past several days, I would look forward to retreating to bed early, entering the world of Penelope Taberner Cameron. I would have loved this book when I was young, as I have always been fascinated by time travel. As an adult, I loved the story, but also appreciated the rich, evocative language and the dream-like, wistfu ...more
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The ending is both wistful and sad and inevitable. Penelope repeatedly slips back in time at her family's ancient country farm, Thackers, to the 1580s and then back to her present, 1906-08. Penelope's ancestors were servants to the Babingtons, who are fundamentally nice people (with a few exceptions). She becomes part of their family, in the 16th century, accepted as a sort of cousin who nobody can quite place and who tends to vanish without notice ...more
I enjoyed this book because it's well written, describes the beauty of a lost world (pre-Wars, horses, fires to warm rooms) and captures the life and morals of a family.

I liked Penelope too, her Aunt and Uncle, and Francis Babington. There's real warmth in the relationships and a nostalgia for the past and the rapidly changing present. I grew almost wistful for the world of Thackers myself, it seemed so ideal.
But underneath it all there is the darkness of a cruel history (although inaccu
I learned about this book from an interview with Ian Mortimer, author of "The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England," a history book that takes the novel approach of presenting itself as a guide of useful practical information you'll need to fit in in medieval England. I'd never heard of this book before and apparently it only had a limited U.S. release on its publication in 1939. Too bad, because this fits solidly within the Chronicles of Narnia magic-and-boarding-school-England genre and I ...more
I was given this book for Christmas but I'd never heard of it before. It was a nice surprise to find it a really good read.

A young girl, Penelope, visits her aunt and uncle's house and finds herself transported to Elizabethan times and embroled in the plot to free Mary Queen of Scots, who is imprisoned in a house nearby. Only in the present is Penelope aware of the tradgedy which lies ahead, drawing closer whenever she travels back in time.

As a backdrop to the unfolding drama is the slow country
This isn't a story, it's a gateway into another world.

I've read this book so many times and still find it beautiful and utterly believable: you can smell the herbs in the linen chests, hear the singing, feel the breeze on your face. I'm still a bit in love with Francis Babbington, and let me warn you, it's fictional heroes like him that cause little girls to grow into women with unrealistic expectations of men.
Pam Knox
Lovely writing. I felt like I was there, both in early 20th century England and In 16th century England. Also fun to look at pictures of the actual house Dethick Manor in Derbyshire, which is now a B&B. I wish I had read this years ago. I don't know how I missed it growing up. Just came across the word Dumbledores "Dumbledores boomed as they struck our dresses..." Old English for bumblebees.
Am enjoying this - took it to Dublin with me as it's rather lighter than the Ken Follett - lol!

Now I've finished it - well worth reading - well written & good plot, despite knowing what's going to happen - a beautiful book.....
Christopher Newton
One of the best time travel fantasies ever - beautifully written, soft yet exact, with a feeling for the English countryside that made me think of the young D.H. Lawrence.
I read this long ago for the adventure, I'm re-reading it for the beauty of the language.
Alison Uttley is well known for her children’s stories such as those featuring the Little Grey Rabbit and Sam the Pig. She also wrote books for older readers and one of the finest is the wonderful YA novel, "A Traveller In Time".

The book uses the device of “time slip”--which is the fantasy equivalent of the time travel devices used in science-fiction. Time slips involve some transferral of consciousness to a different time period. Some other examples are "Portrait of Jennie" {both the wonderful
This classic from the 1930s is an interesting mix of ghost story and historical chapter book, set in the bucolic English countryside. Three children are sent to relatives in Derbyshire to recover their health, and the youngest, Penelope, labeled sensitive, feels an immediate and strange connection to the place. She sees people who aren't there, former inhabitants of the farmhouse, whose connection to tragic historical events bring the book into the historical fiction genre. Penelope finds hersel ...more
When I was a child the BBC made a tv version of this book. I remember only the opening sequence which had a girl riding on a train and Greensleeves was playing and I remember thinking it was very spooky and interesting. After reading the 40k novels I was in the mood for something written a bit better so decided to read this.

This book had a nice balance for a children's book, there were lovely descriptions of houses and everyone was very pleasant and yet it was set against the backdrop that one
Hwee Goh
This is a gem of a book, published in 1939 and still warm, country-soaked and of an old era. Penelope is a girl who has "second sight" and sent to the country to live at the Thacker family home. There, she slips into another layer of time, three hundred years ago and gets involved in Anthony Babington's plot to save Mary Queen of Scots. There is just a touch of a budding romance as well. Uttley was born at the end of the 19th century and her description of old English ways is authentic, and some ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Ellis
I wish I had had this book when I was a child. It would definitely have sparked my interest in English history at a much earlier age than actually happened. A fantastic story involving time travel between the "modern" times (1930s?) and 1585, when Mary Queen of Scots was being held at a country manor house. The way the author handles time travel is wonderful, not cheesy or "science fiction"-like. Just a remarkable, beautifully written book which I enjoyed tremendously even at this advanced age!
Russell James
A classic I was lucky enough to read in the Folio edition. As in the best children's stories, this revolves round a sickly but literate child who, surprisingly convincingly, has inherited 'second sight' and can slip back in time (not always when she might choose) to the time of Mary Queen of Scots who, in her travails and travels, was housed nearby in Derbyshire. The child traveller finds herself accepted (by most but, of course, not by all) in both time periods. Works for children and adults.
Alison Uttley is best known for her Little Grey Rabbit books – beginning with The Squirrel, The Hare and The Little Grey Rabbit (1929) – publication of which continued for nearly fifty years, with charming illustrations by Margaret Tempest (latterly Katherine Wigglesworth). They were part of a story-telling tradition that stretched from Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit to Jane Pilgrim’s Blackberry Farm series, a tradition featuring anthropomorphic creatures and describing a rural life that has now ...more
Wow! I have kept this book since I was a child. Even covered it in contact paper at one point. How wonderful to know it has been re-issued!
As others have stated, it is a historical fantasy, told from the viewpoint of the young girl who is traveling in time.
It is actual and accurate in fact, while making the "historical players" human.

Highly recommended for older children.
When I read this book as a child, I loved it and would have given it 5 stars. I decided to re-read it for the first time as an adult and was a little disappointed that it did not live up to my memory (but then few things from childhood do, as we grow older). Alison Uttley was always a delightful writer and a favourite of mine as I was growing up, however I found this story a little disjointed. For example when Penelope is in the past and someone is talking to her, instead of answering in context ...more
Poppy Coles
I loved this book :) Alison Uttley writes in a way as if she has actually been to the Elizabethan times and experienced everything that she writes about. After looking up the characters in the book I realised that she is also very historically accurate making it seem even more real.
Jo Case
This is up there with Playing Beatie Bow when it comes to YA time travel (or 'time slip') novels. I borrowed it from the library over and over as a kid. Gorgeous and compelling. I was briefly obsessed with Mary Queen of Scots after reading it for the first time.
I wish I'd read this when I was 12, it would have been one of my favorite books ever. As it is, I'm glad to have read it at this late date. Sweet little British story of a girl with the second sight, an enchanted house, and the doomed Mary, Queen of Scots.
This is one of my childhood favourites. I re-read it every year or two. My copy is so well read and loved the pages are falling out!
Sandra Waugh
One of those books from childhood that had a huge impact... I adored this story. This cover doesn't do it justice.
Big Toe Books from BBC Radio 7. The plot seems to be interesting.
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Alison Uttley (17 December 1884 – 7 May 1976), née Alice Jane Taylor, was a prolific British writer of over 100 books. She is now best known for her children's series about Little Grey Rabbit, and Sam Pig.

For more information, please see:
More about Alison Uttley...
The Country Child The Squirrel, the Hare and the Little Grey Rabbit (Little Grey Rabbit, #1) Little Grey Rabbit's Christmas Little Grey Rabbit's Birthday Fuzzypeg Goes To School

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