Gwyneth is sixteen, relatively normal, and lives with her extended family in a huge house in London. She does a lot of pretty normal teenage girl things: hanging out with her best friend, Lesley, chatting about boys and clothes, and dealing with her weird family members. She can also talk to ghosts, but she tries to keep that from becoming general knowledge. Things take an unexpected turn when Gwyneth starts making uncontrolled jumps into the past. That particular gift was supposed to be inherited by her cousin Charlotte. Charlotte has therefore been trained in self-defense, multiple foreign languages, proper etiquette and any number of other skills Gwyneth has not been taught.
This turn of events not only complicates things for Gwyneth, it complicates them for the secret society that guards and studies time travelers. The Lodge of Count Saint-Germain, also known as The Guardians, are trying to keep Gwyneth in the dark about many of their secrets while also using her to accomplish their ends. She is left trying to figure out the intricacies of time travel and its rules while also trying to figure out how she feels about her fellow time-traveler, Gideon de Villiers and the members of The Guardians.
Ruby Red is the first book in a series translated from the original German. The second book, Sapphire Blue, will be out in spring of 2012.
>Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a rather odd book about a young man whose grandfather is killed in a violent manner, but it’s also much more than that. Sixteen-year-old Jacob has always worshiped his grandfather and loved the stories his grandfather told about his life at a home for children in Wales when he was a young orphan. At some point the stories lost their luster and Jacob asked his grandfather to stop telling him fairy stories. After his grandfather is killed, Jacob decides he must go to the island where his grandfather lived in order to find some closure.
What he finds there makes him question his knowledge of his grandfather and his entire view of how the world works.
The story of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a wonderful work of fiction enhanced by the addition of authentic (mostly unaltered) old photographs from private collections.
>In this wonderfully inventive debut, Mark Hodder pulls together a variety of genres (including time travel, steampunk, alternate history, mystery and more) into a rolicking story set in an alternate Victorian England. Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, a Victorian era Renaissance Man, follows a different path in life when he is asked by the prime minister in 1861 to investigate the sightings of the (possibly mythic) figure Spring Heeled Jack. What follows is a tale of werewolves, a talking orangutan, steam-powered velocipedes and rotorchairs as Burton tries to locate Spring Heeled Jack and find out why boys from the East End are disappearing. Burton recruits his friend, the poet Algernon Swinburne, to aid him in his investigation as he faces off with such Victorian era giants as Charles Darwin, Laurence Oliphant, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Florence Nightingale. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack is the first in the planned Burton and Swinburne series. While Hodder pulled everything together into a satisfying ending for Spring Heeled Jack, there is more than enough there for another narrative featuring the intrepid Burton and Swinburne.
What do you get when you add a dash of time travel to an old-fashioned who-done-it mystery? To Say Nothing of the Dog is a wild romp through the Victorian era, World War II, and the future with a fascinating cast of characters and the mystery of the missing bishop’s bird stump. Ned Henry, prominent Oxford historian, has been traveling through time searching for historical pieces for the cathedral being reconstructed in the year 2057. After suffering from severe time-lag, he’s sent to the Victorian era to rest and recover away from the watchful eyes of Lady Shrapnell, the dominant force behind the cathedral. He doesn’t get much rest, but his adventures will keep you engrossed as he tries to preserves the space-time contiuum with the help of a dog, a cat, a violet covered box, and his beautiful fellow time-traveler Verity.
Just like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, I also have been too quick to judge. Two years ago when Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler first came out, I read it eagerly and loved it until the end. The only problem with this book is that only half of the story is presented, leaving too many questions unanswered. Recently, I decided to forgive Rigler and try to struggle through the sequel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. It was so delightful, I had to go back and read Confessions again, which was much more enjoyable on the second reading.
Both stories are about a young woman who is unhappy with the current conditions of her life. They each suffer a head injury and wake up in a different life in a different time. Courtney is an assistant in 21st century Los Angeles. Having just suffered a humiliating end to her engagement, she suffers a diving accident and wakes up in the body of Miss Mansfield in 1813. Jane is 30 and unmarried in in Regency era England. She has just seen something that may mean the end to her only prospect for marriage. She races off on her horse, hits her head and wakes up in Courtney’s apartment and life.
As each of them adjust to new surroundings, we get to see how many things concerning love and life have not changed very much, as well as how the resposibility of living someone else’s life causes them to make better decisions than they might have on their own behalf. An overall fun read.
Have you seen it yet? I haven’t been able to and it’s just killing me. The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger just came out in theaters and I’m torn. I loved the book and I can’t imagine any possible way that the movie could be as good.
If you loved the story, here are a few suggestions to keep you busy while you debate whether or not to see the film. If you want a tale of love in the midst of great trials, try Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Inman, a soldier makes his way home to North Carolina from a Civil War hospital while his love, Ada, waits for him.
If you like a bit of magic mixed in with a great story, you might like The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde or Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. The Eyre Affair is a mystery set in a surreal version of Great Britain in 1985, where time travel is possible and one can travel in and out of great works of literature. Like Water for Chocolate is the beautiful story of Tita and Pedro, incorporating love, food, and humor in a tale you’ll never forget.