About the book (from Amazon): When Abby chose tutoring an "economically disadvantaged adolescent" as her college service project, she didn't realize how difficult her summer would be. Merrideth, her 11-year-old student, has been sullen and depressed ever since her parents' divorce, especially since she was forced to move to the dilapidated old house her mother inherited.
When Merrideth's dad sends her a top-of-the-line computer to make up for his absence in her life, she and Abby discover a weird program on it that invites them to "Take a Virtual Tour" of various houses around the world, including, amazingly, Merrideth's own house.
And then they discover the program is more than a simple visual experience. Much more. Abby and Merrideth find they can "time-surf" to any date, including 1858 when the house was new and young Charlotte Miles lived there. By locking onto Charlotte, they can get into her head—know her thoughts and feelings—and experience her world, even when she gets on the train to attend the Lincoln/Douglas Debate.
Watching from a distance as Charlotte faces the challenges in her life, including the hardships of the Civil War, gives Abby and Merrideth new perspective on their own problems.
Time and Again is a story told in the past and in the present. A story of self-discovery and faith.
My take: Time and Again is a great story that mixes history, time travel, pre-teen angst, and romance. Though I did struggle to get into the novel at first, once Abby and Merrideth discovered the computer program's capabilities (approximately 1/3 of the way through the book), I couldn't put it down.
I especially enjoyed the relationship between Abby and Merrideth. At first, Merrideth came across as a spoiled brat who didn't want to do anything but watch TV, play with her cats, and eat candy. But as Abby got to know her, Merrideth became a much more sympathetic character, as the reasons behind her attitude came to light. That seems to be a theme of Time and Again: there's more to every story than meets the eye.
As I finished the book, I couldn't wait to begin the sequel—Time and Again ends rather abruptly, and I'm anxious to learn the rest of the story! 4 stars.
Excerpt: “No…There’s no way that would work. I mean no one could invent a software program that could do that. No way.”
“What are you talking about?” Merrideth said, staring at her.
Abby didn’t answer, but taking the mouse from Merrideth, she placed the cursor on the View icon on the menu bar and clicked. “This is so similar to my brother’s architecture program,” she began, “that maybe we’ll be able to …”
When she clicked on Flip, both girls simultaneously gasped. “…do this,” Abby said with satisfaction.
The screen view had rotated on its vertical axis and now they were seeing the back side of Colonel Miles’ house. White sheets on a clothesline snapped in the wind. A young woman in a long blue dress and bonnet was stooping to pull a wet sheet from the wicker basket at her feet. A gray cat came out of the barn and, stepping delicately through the wet grass, cautiously bypassed the flapping sheets to lay in the sun on the back step.
After a moment of stunned silence, Merrideth said, “It’s her! It’s Charlotte.”
About the author: Deborah Heal is the author of the young adult novels Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy. She lives in Waterloo, Illinois, where she enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about southern Illinois history. She is married and has three grown children, three grandchildren, and a canine buddy named Scout (a.k.a. Dr. Bob). Currently, she is working on book three in the Time and Again trilogy. You may learn more about the author by visiting her website: www.deborahheal.com, her Facebook Fan Page, and Goodreads. Her books may be purchased on Amazon.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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