Clare's Reviews > Charlotte Sometimes

Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Feb 03, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy-and-sci-fi, fiction

I wish I had read this book when I was a child but actually, strangely I did not know of its existence until I saw a 40th Anniversary edition in Waterstones and was drawn by its interesting title and the fact that I am often drawn to books written by an author with the first name of Penelope; this is because it is my middle name and I am aware that it is unusual and for this reason I like it.

It is a fascinating and original story of a girl named Charlotte who, on starting a new boarding school wakes up the next day in the same bed but in 1918. She has changed places with a girl named Clare (my first name and spelt like me! This is always exciting for me!) and it is war time and she now has a little sister named Emily. The following day she wakes up back in her own time and thus begins the daily pattern. The real Clare is also being transported in Charlotte's place and so they come up with a way of communicating via a secret notebook so they can keep track of what is happening while they are gone.

We follow Charlotte through this story, we never actually meet Clare. It is written in the third person but it is not omniscient and so we only ever know as much as Charlotte which is interesting and certainly keeps the mystery going. After a while of switching daily, the two girls discover that Clare and Emily are to be moved to stay with a family. They are hopeful that this will put an end to this routine which is becoming a frustrating way to live, as they are sure that the bed in which they are both sleeping in their different times must be the cause. However, the days get delayed and Charlotte winds up being in 1918 when the girls are moved. This poses the problem of how to get the girls back to their right time and further mysterious and surprising developments begin to occur as the book unfolds itself and reveals its outcome.

This is the second book in a trilogy featuring these characters but I did not feel at all as though I ought to have read the other first although now I would be interested to. It is a wonderfully written story with all the right ingredients of mystery and intrigue and strangeness to make a popular children's book. Charlotte can get a little annoying at times, she tends to be a little wet but seems a bit more fun than what we hear of Clare. Emily is quite annoying but quite a convincing little sister figure. The second half of the book is the better half and twists itself up well into being truly original. Actually, Robert Smith of The Cure wrote a song based on this book, titled of the same name and once you get towards the end you can see how he was inspired. Here is the video, which is dreadful, but I quite like the song.
Apparently Penelope Farmer met him for the first time not so long ago, here is her account of it...
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Charlotte Sometimes.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

February 3, 2012 – Shelved
April 2, 2012 – Started Reading
April 3, 2012 –
page 50
April 5, 2012 –
page 103
April 5, 2012 – Finished Reading
January 2, 2016 – Shelved as: fantasy-and-sci-fi
January 2, 2016 – Shelved as: fiction

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Clare Yes I am, my surroundings keep preventing me from really getting into it - I'm reading it in my lunch breaks but I do like it so far.

Emilie i loved reading penelope farmer's account of meeting robert smith!

Clare It's great isn't it! I love her blog in general too.

back to top