This is a book about a girl who sees ghosts, and then travels in time backwards and forwards to Elizabethan England, living a life there at the same tThis is a book about a girl who sees ghosts, and then travels in time backwards and forwards to Elizabethan England, living a life there at the same time as in modern day (well, the 1930s, when this was written). Beautiful descriptions of the life and the people - a charming story....more
What a fascinating novel! Ursula Todd was born in February 1910, but the doctor was held up at another emergency, the midwife couldn't get there throuWhat a fascinating novel! Ursula Todd was born in February 1910, but the doctor was held up at another emergency, the midwife couldn't get there through the snow, the husband was somewhere (I don't remember now), and the maid was 14 and had no idea what to do. So Ursula died, suffocated by the umbilical cord.
We return to the same snowy scene, but this time it's different. A small change in circumstances and Ursula is born alive. But how long does she live? And what will she learn from that life for the next time she's born again as Ursula Todd?
We journey with Ursula and her family through the two World Wars, and they are directly involved. We also see much of family life in the country - this is a family that can afford two or three servants, and decent education for all the children - along with plenty of family dynamics. And as in any family with a large group of friends living nearby, there are many possible events both good and bad that can occur.
I love the way the author has treated this idea. Ursula spends quite some time being confused about whether things have happened or not; she has deja vu all the time; she gets flashes of imminent tragedy, which sometimes she is able to circumvent. But we don't just go over and over the same, with only the changes that arise along the way. There is, indeed, a definite goal towards which the narrative wends its way, and, again, its fascinating....more
I'm vacillating between giving this book 3 stars or 4 stars - I'll probably leave it at 3 because, though I really enjoyed the story, I didn't get a gI'm vacillating between giving this book 3 stars or 4 stars - I'll probably leave it at 3 because, though I really enjoyed the story, I didn't get a great feel for the narrator. He came across as a quite ordinary man (though with a great eye for detail, being an artist) but he was selected because he was 'one in a million' - the government tested umpteen men and women and found only about half a dozen who fitted the bill. Actually, now I come to think about it, I'm wrong to think he needed to come across as extraordinary. If I recall (and I can't find the pages I need at the moment) it was that combination of personality traits and eye for detail etc etc that made him the right person, and being 'ordinary' was a necessity within it.
Still, I didn't really get to know him that well. The characterisation is a little superficial. But then again, that was pretty typical of sci-fi of that generation (I'm thinking Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Andre Norton, and so on and so forth) and earlier, so I need to remember this book was published in 1970.
So, the book's about time travel. Simon (Si) is approached to join in a secret government project led by a man who, inspired by Einstein, has found a way to make time travel happen. The plan is for Si to go back to 1876 (or such) but he persuades them to let him to go 1882 so he can find out about a most curious letter alluding to a specific date in that year. Of course, he must not do or say anything that has any impact on anybody - history might be changed if he does.
I really like the method of time travel, I really like that they are so thorough in their preparation and in their debriefing. I quite like the setting in New York and all the description thereof, though I would almost certainly have appreciated and liked it more if I knew the city better than my 2-week visit there in 1986. I really like the description of the people in 1882 - not just their clothing and customs, but their whole way of being. All in all, I enjoyed this book very much....more
I've seen several different versions on this on the TV and have often thought I should read the book. However, I kept putting it off because of schoolI've seen several different versions on this on the TV and have often thought I should read the book. However, I kept putting it off because of schoolday memories. I remember the 3rd Form class having to read something by Dickens - possibly Great Expectations - and it was such a bore. I was a voracious reader and got through it very quickly. But as a class reader it was supposed to be one chapter a week and discussions in class, and I feel that it lasted the whole year. There were probably a couple of girls like me who read it all immediately, and there were possibly some who read the required chapter a week, and there most certainly were those who never read any of it.
Our English teacher was Miss Redpath and she was quite elderly. Mind you, I was twelve so what would I know. She had a rather high and very quiet voice, and to gain our attention she would clear her throat with an "ahem" and then say, "Now girls." She must have said that a hundred times each class, because we got very little done the whole year. Just before exams she decided she really had to teach us about clauses because we were going to be tested on them - we didn't listen to any of that either, but then we'd done grammar in Latin class with a teacher who didn't take any nonsense.
I haven't read Dickens since. But 'A Christmas Carol' is short and ever so much fun. AND, the classics really do have to be read. If I don't read the rest of them I will be lying there on my deathbed looking back on my life and feeling ashamed. Oh dear, I feel another challenge coming on.
And I haven't reviewed this book at all. . . . ! It's great. It's a classic. It's an easy read (for those for whom "classic" is off-putting). Read it!...more
These Artemis Fowl books are lots of fun, and this one was full of action as usual. I do enjoy the growth of Artemis as he gets older. Colfer is quiteThese Artemis Fowl books are lots of fun, and this one was full of action as usual. I do enjoy the growth of Artemis as he gets older. Colfer is quite clever too with the time paradox, but I can't exclaim on it without giving a spoiler. ...more
I think when I got to the end of the fifth in this series I wasn't that interested any more, but on being offered this to read I was excited to get baI think when I got to the end of the fifth in this series I wasn't that interested any more, but on being offered this to read I was excited to get back to it. I have missed out on number 6 and will have to get it from the library to catch up. This series has, after all, continued to keep me wanting more....more
I read every single Daphne du Maurier in my late teens & early twenties, loved them and bought copies of perhaps every one she wrote. I've been meI read every single Daphne du Maurier in my late teens & early twenties, loved them and bought copies of perhaps every one she wrote. I've been meaning ever since to re-read them, but you know what it's like - there are always so many new and exciting books to read! A friend of mine, however, was recently talking about this title, so I found it on my shelves.
Sadly, it wasn't what I remembered. One of the reasons for that may be because I've read a lot of time-travel books since and so it has lost the impact it would have had on me way back then. I don't know . . . but I'm disappointed because I was expecting to love it.
Putting that aside and looking at it as if I'd never read it before, I find I am still disappointed. To begin, it took quite a few pages before I realised that the narrator's voice was male. Now, I guess that's fine for an author to write from the point of view of the other gender, but I was busy identifying with the narrator until suddenly "she" was whipped away from me because 'she' was a 'he'.
I remember reading a book by a New Zealand author - now, wait a minute and I'll find who it was . . . . . . . got it - The Transformation, and she (the author) told the story from three different people's viewpoints, 2 of whom were male and 1 female. She also narrated 2 of them in the 1st person and the other in the 3rd, so it was quite unusual. Nevertheless, there was no confusion (she might have used their names as chapter titles, or some other way to make things clear - I don't remember right now). The point is, that there wasn't confusion, but in this book I got a shock when I realised I'd been confused.
Perhaps, when this book was written, the actions of the narrator would have made it clear that it was male...? That's quite likely. And du Maurier's characters are rather stereotyped. I think that's what irritates me about the book - it's okay (in my mind) for historical characters to be bound by their gender roles of the time, but the 1960s isn't part of history yet for me and I feel the rise of feminist critique.
Can I put that aside? If I try, I still find myself disappointed. I just couldn't get involved with any of the people. The narrator finds himself caring more about the people of 600 years ago, but I didn't find them particularly interesting. Nor could I find their story compelling in any way. I didn't like the narrator either and couldn't get involved in his 'addiction'. A disappointment all round....more
My laptop battery only lasts about an hour before telling me I have only 7 minutes left (it is supposed to last 3 hours, but I guess it's getting old)My laptop battery only lasts about an hour before telling me I have only 7 minutes left (it is supposed to last 3 hours, but I guess it's getting old), so I read this in one-hour increments - - unplug laptop, get into bed, ignore self-imposed curfew, read till the 7-minute warning. I was strongly tempted to take the lead and plug it in each night, because the story is thrilling and the pace relentless and I didn't want to stop reading! However, an element of commonsense prevailed.
Commonsense is somewhat lacking in a couple of the key characters in this sci-fi novel. Kivrin, who is the student historian who goes back in time, is so determined to go to the Middle Ages that she doesn't heed the best advice. Gilchrist, who is Acting Head of Department over the Christmas holiday break, authorises a 'drop' despite having no personal understanding of the procedure and its requirements, and deliberately does it when he'll get the supposed kudos.
We move from the present day (well, our future actually, when we have perfected time travel) to the 1300s, and in each time period the story is fast-paced and full of fascinating characters. I'm really eager to read the next in this time-travel series....more
This book is written in what is probably my favourite type of fantasy - no magical powers, no magical creatures, but things to do with the mind and wiThis book is written in what is probably my favourite type of fantasy - no magical powers, no magical creatures, but things to do with the mind and with time. Brilliant.
Though this book was published over 20 years ago, I hadn't read it till now. Twenty years ago I wasn't reading teen fiction with strong female leads, nor was my then 10-year-old son. In fact, I only discovered this fabulous author this year! There is clearly much there for me to remedy.
I love the characters in this book. I love the bits of humour, e.g.
Dylan raced out into the passage. Water seeped towards him across the carpet, all the way along the passage; it was trickling into the bedrooms and was already halfway across the carpet in the lounge. He splashed across the warm tide and turned off the bath taps. He leaned over the bath, his eyes closed, his feet in four centimetres of water, and said a word never before spoken in his house.
The adult relationships have both the lovely (Juniper's mother) and the realistic (Dylan's parents), and the interactions between the teens and the children are spot on. I also love novels that bring in art, so this book pressed all my happy-reader buttons.
There was one little thing that didn't quite work for me was (view spoiler)[Juniper's mother's capitulation at the end - a little too pat, a little too "oh dear, got to find a way to bring this to a joyful culmination" (hide spoiler)] but that's not enough to reduce this from a 5 out of 5 rating.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I've no idea what brought this to my attention at the beginning of 2007 (which is when I added it to my to-read list), but I've finally read it and enI've no idea what brought this to my attention at the beginning of 2007 (which is when I added it to my to-read list), but I've finally read it and enjoyed it thoroughly. In a way it's a little bit of historical fiction now, published in 1975. It's also historical with its time travel theme, which is clearly the reason I decided I'd want to read it. I love time travel stories.
This book follows Time at the Top which I've been unable to find in the library system. Never mind, the reader is given plenty to tell what happened so there are no instances of wondering about the background. We pick up with Susan, who lives in 1975 New York with her father, and who was given 3 trips in a time-travelling elevator. She used 2 of them in the first book, but now has a plan to return with her father because she is quite sure that her father will fall in love with the mother of her two friends Robert and Victoria, and therefore save Mrs Walker from penury and loneliness.
I read the first Oxford Time Travel book last year and was delighted to find this come up in my reading list. Happily, I enjoyed it equally. It had meI read the first Oxford Time Travel book last year and was delighted to find this come up in my reading list. Happily, I enjoyed it equally. It had me a little confused for a while though.Had the first one been as funny? I didn't recall humour in it! And I was right - looking back at it, I see it definitely wasn't intended to be humorous. The Great Plague is hardly a topic for hilarity, and Willis did the horror of it very well indeed. But this one was laugh-out-loud funny right from the beginning. That's excellent, to have these two books so very different. After all, it's not really a series of consecutive stories, but rather a collection of stories in the same setting.
To Say Nothing of the Dog is narrated by Ned, who is suffering badly from time-lag because he's had to make far too many time jumps in a short space of time, all to try and satisfy Lady Schrapnell who has provided a much needed financial contribution to the Time Travel lab, but has commandeered everybody to search for a missing ornamental item from the old Coventry Cathedral (which she is having built anew, exactly as it was before being bombed in WWII). Ned desperately needs a break, so they send him back to Victorian times to hide him from Lady Schrapnell, entrusting him, however, to an important mission on arrival. In his time-lagged state he gets horribly confused about what he has been tasked to do!
With additional tones of a 1930s detective novel, and a little romance, this kept me highly amused....more
I loved the title, I loved the blurb. So I read the book. And I loved it.
I've listed this under my "Time Travel" shelf, but it's not really. It's moreI loved the title, I loved the blurb. So I read the book. And I loved it.
I've listed this under my "Time Travel" shelf, but it's not really. It's more of an "Alternate World" book, but I don't have a shelf for that, and anyway the alternate worlds in this novel are in different times. Great premise.
Greta Wells decides, after all else has failed to give her back a desire to be alive, to have electro-convulsive therapy. Sounds terrible, and one can only imagine how much worse the procedure would have been in 1918 or in 1941. However, the worst thing likely to happen, according to the medical profession, is that she'll have hallucinations. Instead, she finds herself trying to "fix" the people she loves, who she also lives alongside in the other worlds. But they aren't quite the same. And anyway, what can she really do?
This book really touched me, and there's a repeating question that I simply must record here:
"When you were a little girl, madam," he said, gesturing to her, "was this the woman you dreamed of becoming?"
What a nice theory of time travel! Ben has to vacate his bedroom for his grouchy great-grandfather, and one day when the rest of the family is out, BeWhat a nice theory of time travel! Ben has to vacate his bedroom for his grouchy great-grandfather, and one day when the rest of the family is out, Ben thinks his grandfather isn't breathing so reaches out to shake him. He suddenly finds himself transported back in time to when his Poppa was 12, the same age as Ben is now. Everything would be great, except back in real time Ben's friend Zac is getting into bad company, and in Poppa's childhood there's an alarming new troublemaker.
A great piece of history inside a contemporary issue - this is a great read for older kids and young teens. Oh yes, and a nice slice of New Zealand....more
Jack has dreams of being a swimming champion; he also dreams of Viking times. When disappointment dogs him over the swimming, and a bully attacks himJack has dreams of being a swimming champion; he also dreams of Viking times. When disappointment dogs him over the swimming, and a bully attacks him mercilessly, Jack suddenly finds himself in the Norway of old. He learns very quickly that it is no glorious existence, but he also learns a lot about himself. How on earth will he ever get home though!
This book is excellent for young teens, all packed inside a great story that combines both history and contemporary issues. ...more