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Time and Again: Charlotte at Miles Station Review by Kathy GelzerDeborah Heal
Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC
127 E. Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
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 off.
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 and Again. 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.