Here is an unusual novel that blends historical
fiction with the present--a coming of age story with plenty of character development.
The 252 page story centers around two girls: Abby, a college
student, volunteers to help befriend and tutor eleven year old
Meredith in the small town of Brighton, Illinois.
In addition to the challenges involved in establishing a rapport
with her charge and motivating her to study, Abby (and Meredith)
stumble onto a mysterious computer game that seems to have a life
of its own and lures them into the history of nearby Miles Station
village during the mid 1800's. In an attempt to warm Meredith up
to her relatively new surroundings, since she and her mother recently
moved there, the girls take time to explore the town and get to
know its residents.
This is a Christian novel, although not overtly so. Abby prays,
reads her Bible, and goes to church. And she tries to help Meredith
in her relationship with God.
There is a budding romance between Abby and a boy, John, in town.
Abby finds him physically attractive, although she has no intention
of "beginning a relationship while she's on the job." I do wish
the word "sexy" had been omitted from the book. The word "nigger" is
also used a few times, but it fits in with the historical setting
of the subplot.
There are a couple other events parents will want to be aware
of. The computer game describes an incident where a young man spies
on a young woman undressing for bed. He is found out and warned
During a bullying incident, John comes to the rescue, but
it involves some name calling on his part.
Author Deborah Heal does a good job of weaving history into the
plot. Her characters are believable, and the dialogue seems natural.
Junior high and senior high girls would enjoy Time
Since the main characters are all female, I think it would appeal
more to girls. You will want to consider this book if you are studying
the Civil War period with your children. The computer game element
makes in particularly intriguing.