Jennie
Jennie asked:

When Matthew and Diana returned, why did they time travel to the present? Wouldn't it have made more sense for them to return to moments after they left for the past? Then they wouldn't have missed anything and their families wouldn't have been left worrying about them for months. Maybe this is explained in the third book, but did this bother anyone else?

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Maria Rose I am guessing since I haven't read past this book, that time walking can get be precise to land in a place known but not to exact time that you left. Even when Diana time walks from the still room to the barn and back, she did have a short gap in time. Her father was more in control of his time walking and could predict his return time. Diana was still very much a new user of this skill so she could only try to get to a place she remembers most, plus she wasn't traveling alone.
Martha Given that Diana tries and fails at returning twice before finding the tree root to take her back to the Bishop house, I think it's clear that she doesn't have the precision necessary to return to just after she left.

Also (spoilers for Shadow of Night): I think it's implied that Stephen, despite being the more seasoned timewalker, also returns to a future that's not immediately after he left. As in, if he spends two weeks in the past, then he returns to the future two weeks after he left. He can't spend more time with Diana because Rebecca will start getting worried.
Lievebloem It is faguely reffered to in the third book as that timetraveling is not that precise and Diana can only make guess because the timespan is so big.
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by Deborah Harkness (Goodreads Author)
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