Title: Time and Again
Author: Jack Finney
Genre: Science fiction, time travel fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: In shirt-sleeves, the way I generally worked, I sat sketching a bar of soap taped to an upper corner of my drawing board.
Goodreads blurb: “Sleep. And when you awake everything you know of the twentieth century will be gone from your mind. Tonight is January 21, 1882. There are no such things as automobiles, no planes, computers, television. ‘Nuclear’ appears in no dictionary. You have never heard the name Richard Nixon.” Did illustrator Si Morley really step out of his twentieth-century apartment one night — right into the winter of 1882? The U.S. Government believed it, especially when Si returned with a portfolio of brand-new sketches and tintype photos of a world that no longer existed — or did it?
I enjoy time travel fiction, and loved Stephen King’s 11/22/63. In his author’s note, he mentioned this book, Time and Again, as one of the best examples of the genre. I added it to my to-read list and fully expected to love it. And while I did enjoy it, it wasn’t a runaway hit for me. There were many points where the story dragged. I think the author wanted so much to describe an authentic 1882 New York that he gave way too much description, and it bogged down the plot. Still, I’m glad I read it.
Title: Sophia’s War: A Tale of the Revolution
Genre: YA historical fiction
Publisher: Beach Lane Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Angela Goethals
Audiobook length: 7 hours and 24 minutes
First line: Dear Reader: It is a terrible thing to see a man hang.
Goodreads blurb: In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own.
I adore Avi! I love the fact that he doesn’t write down to his young readers, and that makes his middle grade and YA fiction eminently readable by people of all ages. I picked this one up for the War Through the Generations Challenge, and I’m so glad I did. I loved the character of Sophia, and also the inside look at Benedict Arnold’s betrayal. I also learned a lot, without feeling like I was being taught, which is a sign of the best historical fiction. Angela Goethals was a wonderful choice to tell Sophia’s story, and so I highly recommend listening to this one on audio.
Title: Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley
Author: M.C. Beaton
Genre: Mystery, cozy mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: Agatha Raisin watched the sunlight on the wall of her office in the City of London.
Goodreads blurb: When the kind, shy baronet Sir Charles Fraith receives a letter from Jessica Tartinck, president of the Dembley Walkers Association, his tranquil life is thrown into chaos. Feisty and determined, Ms. Tartinck, as part of her campaign against landowners over the use of public footpaths, has chosen the naive baronet for her latest attack. Although Sir Charles suggests a reasonable offer to counter her outrageous demands, Jessica chooses to ignore him. Jessica’s protest march turns into a death march when she ends up murdered in Sir Charles’s field. Wooed by the chance to mix with the landed gentry, Agatha is only too willing to try to help clear Sir Charles’s name, especially since it means playing the “wife” of her attractive and elusive neighbor James Lacey.
This was another delightful foray into the Cotswolds world of Agatha Raisin. I only wish these books were a bit longer! The mystery was a surprise, and the ending was completely unexpected, and made me smile. Looking forward to the next one.