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A Time for Angels

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  473 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
As World War I rages in Europe, an influenza epidemic devastates Boston, forcing fourteen-year-old Hannah to leave home. Dangerously ill, she finds herself in Vermont, where a German man takes her in and nurses her back to health. Relying on her vision of an angel to help her find her way home, Hannah is eventually reunited with her family. A mysterious element, daunting s ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Disney-Hyperion (first published January 1st 1997)
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Catherine Calles
Jun 11, 2014 Catherine Calles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review might not be as helpful as I hope it would be, but I would like to share my thoughts about this book. Hope they're useful to one of you.

When I joined this website, I didn't think my love for certain books could rekindle, but it did. I've wanted to review this book for quite some time, even though the first (and last) time I read it was in fifth grade... I'm now a high school graduate.

But anyways, from the little that I can remember, I knew that the first time I looked through the bo
Jun 05, 2016 E.Z. rated it it was amazing
An emotional story about a girl who wants to save her beloved family.
Wayne S.
Dec 07, 2013 Wayne S. rated it liked it
It is 1918, and Hannah Gold, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, lives in Boston, MA, with her two sisters, Libbie and Eve, their aunt, Tanta Rose, and Rose’s roommate, the healer Vashti. Hannah’s parents are in Europe, her mother having gone to care for sick relatives in Russia and been detained by the Great War, and her then father fighting in the war. To make matters worse, Boston, as well as the whole nation and even the entire world for that matter, is hit with an influenza epidemic. A neighbo ...more
Mar 28, 2013 Gale rated it liked it
“Saved—to Save her Family”

Karen Hesse offers a serious study of a 14-year-old girl’s coming of age during desperate times. Throughout ten painful weeks we sympathize as Hannah Gold struggles with parental separation, a
callous caregiver and the dreaded influenza epidemic in 1918. Living in Boston’s poor district Hannah keenly feels the responsibility to protect her two younger sisters, while both parents are trapped in war torn Europe. The two female adults in their lives are loving Tanta Rose a
Sep 03, 2012 Raymondg rated it really liked it
This book was a very interesting read. The book follows Hannah Gold, who lived in Boston with her Tanta Rose, roommate Vashti, and two sisters during WWI. She is Jewish. Because of the war, her parents are stranded in Russia. When the influenza hits Boston, many, including her Tanta Rose, fall ill. After Tanta Rose dies, Vashti drives Hannah out of the house, and she too falls ill but is rescued by Red Cross agents and taken to a rural Vermont village, where she is put under the care of a farmer ...more
C.J. Hill
Dec 11, 2016 C.J. Hill rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
A beautifully-written, poignant story about the resilience of children. Hesse is able to write books that appeal to and resonate with any age of reader.
Tati Dengo
Dec 12, 2013 Tati Dengo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first made my Goodreads account, I tried including every single book I'd ever read. While this is one I remembered fondly, I couldn't recall its name or author, just the peaceful ending where a boy and a girl view the city from a rooftop. Found the book again purely by chance and decided to reread it.

This one always stood out because despite being set during WWI, it is not set in the heat of battle itself, or even in Europe. It all revolves around a neighborhood in Boston, sharing storie
Mar 01, 2015 Krishna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Time of Angels is a historical fiction novel written by Karen Hesse. Taking place in 1918, Hannah is separated from her parents because of war. She moves to the West End of Boston to live with her aunt, Tanta Rose. Hannah has two younger sisters, Libbie and Eve. Tanta Rose and Hannah work hard to keep the young girls safe. When a deadly influenza hits the town, Hannah catches the illness. Tanta decides to send her away until she gets better. On the way, Hannah boards the wrong trains and depar ...more
Story Revolution
In 1918, war separates Hannah Gold and her younger sisters from their parents. The girls stay with their Tanta Rose in the West End of Boston while the await the return of their Mother and Father and the beloved family life they once knew. When a deadly influenza epidemic strikes, Hannah and her aunt struggle to keep illness at bay.  But evertually, like so many others, Tanta Rose  and younger girls succumb to the virus.  Hannah flees Boston to seek refuge with a relative but falls ill on the tr ...more

Every so often, I get a unexpected surprise when it comes to middle grade fiction. The characters can live in surprising and realistic situations, have a mature female main character, and the situation can be a very realistic one. Such is the case with Karen Hesse's A Time of Angels.

I have not read Out of the Dust. However, I am surprised by how unknown this one by her is. Hannah is a strong female character that has a lot on her shoulders. She has to take care of her older siblings and then se
Jessica Stewart
Jul 17, 2008 Jessica Stewart rated it it was ok
I think I read too much of this book right before I fell asleep, because it's kind of a blur!

The story seemed a little disjointed to me--the way it jumped between characters and only gave little blurbs about each one at a time. I felt that it was difficult to really get to know any of the characters--like they could have been developed a bit more--especially Primo. His clairvoyance didn't seem to play into the plot as much as it could have. The most interesting part of the book was the Devil as
Aug 08, 2015 Jomariem rated it really liked it
Overall, I thought this was a pretty intriguing story, with a setting not usually found in YA literature -- America during the first world war, and the influenza epidemic that came on its heels. I enjoyed the story, but felt that the book ended WAY too abruptly. Not only was the ending with the angel and the boots a little strange, but we never found out what happened to Hannah's parents. Did they survive the war and were they able to come back to America to be with their daughters? In the end i ...more
Sandra Strange
Sep 10, 2009 Sandra Strange rated it really liked it
Although this book is aimed at younger readers (the protagonist is 14), the topic and telling may appeal to older readers, as well. Hannah lives with her aunt, her aunt’s friend, and her two sisters in Boston’s tenement among other Jewish families and non Jewish immigrant families during World War I. In fact, her father is fighting overseas, and her mother was trapped in Russia when the war erupted. Now Hannah’s world is shattered when the deadly influenza epidemic strikes. A touch of supernatur ...more
Jun 09, 2010 Noelle rated it really liked it
This book took me a year and three months to read. It's a shame because I think I probably forgot some of the details over the course of a was deep, well-written, symbolic...I think the symbolism and the relationships between the characters was my favorite part of the book. It's not a book that is really exciting, but it left me reflecting a lot on the shortness of life, on how we don't appreciate things while we're in the moment, but then when the moment is gone, we miss the moment we ...more
Joanna Hemmer
Oct 15, 2012 Joanna Hemmer rated it it was ok
Army camp in Kansas in spring of 1918 the influenza pandemic started that killed 22 milion people. (World War I, apple cider vinegar, a battalion of celestrial sodiers once led the Allies to victory on a battlefield in France, using plants medicinaly, a straw suitcase and black bag mysteriously appeared on top of Wantastiquet Mountain). I thought the story implausible...a girl from Boston ending up in Vermont, living with an old man and an angel with purple eyes leading her there and them home. ...more
Alicia Welshimer
RL: 5, Ages 10-14

This book was a lovely story and well written for a children's book. The characters were easy to love, and it was easy to become invested in the story. The book touches on the hardships of WWI, racism, and poverty, all while keeping the story centered on Hannah's personal struggles as the influenza epidemic sweeps through Boston. The angel character adds a bit of lightness and magic that lends hope midst the hard times in the story.

Charming read than can easily bring up insightf
Jan 18, 2013 Joan rated it liked it
I liked this book, but would have liked it more without the angels. Hannah Gold and her sisters are staying with her Aunt while her mother goes to Russia and her father goes to war during WWI. The flu hits, Hannah's aunt dies and her two sisters are sick. She is sent to her uncle, but becomes sick on the train and is taken in by the Red Cross and then an old German. She worries about her sisters. Very good story, but the angel seems to just bop in sometimes. Gives good information about the flu ...more
Libby Ames
Karen Hesse is a beautiful writer of children's historical fiction. This book is a nice story with likable characters. My only complaint is with the end. Hesse uses the idea of angels and miracles throughout the book, but at the end she becomes a little surreal. I don't mind this in fantasy, but I felt it took away from the style and story in this book. Also, it made the ending of the book unclear and left me wondering about several of my favorite characters. In this case, I would have enjoyed a ...more
Nov 15, 2008 Kari rated it liked it
First person, historical fiction, the flu epidemic during World War I. The main character, Hannah, leaves the home she has with her great aunt and her companion, an herb healer, to avoid the flu. She gets it anyway and is brought to a makeshift hospital. An old man takes her in to help her get well. Hannah is Jewish and the old man is German. It makes for interesting relationship dynamics during this time period.
Aside from a couple disjointed segments toward the end, this is very well-written. Along with strong, well-developed main characters. And despite the 1918 WWI/influenza setting, a time of great casualties foreign and domestic, it's actually a novel of great hope, forgiveness, gratitude, and learning when to let go and when to plow on. "You just got to leave off your fretting and take care of the things you can do something about."
Jane Lebak
The ending let me down. The rest of the book was fairly nice and I enjoyed the characterization and the historicity (although I had to laugh at the idea of someone learning to knit in a single lesson and knitting her first project, a sweater, in a week.) But the angel at the end was just...weird?...with the way it took her boots and didn't seem to understand human civilization.
Jun 06, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I miss the characters already! I love the main character, Hannah, and her unique personality. I love how she loves her family so much. And Uncle Klaus is an amazing character. The author does so well at descriptions and painting a clear picture for the reader. Her wording is phenomenal. I really enjoyed this book and am thankful that I learned more about the Jewish customs as well.
May 26, 2013 Erika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I remember reading this book when I was about 12 years old. At such a young and ignorant age, very few books really moved me enough to cry openly while reading. I remember this story so vividly to this day and remember sobbing on my mother's couch at how touching this book was.
Definitely one of my favorite books of all time.
Dec 10, 2013 Catherine rated it did not like it
This book could have been such a good story, but it was so confusing and weird. The angels didn't seem to fit with the story. Hannah was not very bright at so many times during this contrived story. The relationships held promise but fell flat. I was disappointed in this book because I normally love everything Hesse writes.
Jun 03, 2010 Jenna rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 21, 2013 Mary rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I read this one with my 11 year old and we both enjoyed it most of the way through but neither of us liked the ending. We spent an evening making up an alternate ending that we liked better.
May 04, 2011 Maren rated it liked it
It was interesting, with sweet relationships, but there were just a few bizarre things that were a little out there. I liked the historical context, although it was pretty simple. Overall I enjoyed it.
Feb 17, 2009 Margaret rated it really liked it
I liked this book very much. It is a wonderful thing to help people see that there are always two sides to any conflict. I gave it four stars only because the sections about the angels are a little strange and confusing.
Dec 29, 2009 Shoshana rated it really liked it
Observations while still reading:
1. It is pure coincidence that I followed up Fever 1793 with a book about the influenza epidemic of 1918.
2. The dedication is to Frank Hodge, erstwhile owner of Hodge-Podge Books in Albany, which makes me happy.
Feb 12, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Have you ever seen an angel? This girl living in Boston during the influenza epidemic that killed over 20 million people across the world thinks she can see them. Since I love reading historical fiction this book was a good one for me. It has a happy ending too.
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Karen Hesse is an American author of children's literature and literature for young adults, often with historical settings. Her novel Out of the Dust was the winner of the 1998 Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. In 2002, Hesse was a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship.

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