I discovered, while doing this review that I missed book #2 in my reading, so had to go to the library and check it out. It turns out, #2 isn’t vital to understanding the series, which I kind of already knew having read the others. I found the series interesting, and think that they would do well for their target audience, which is approximately grades 6-10. The concept of time travel is dealt with in a different format than I’ve encountered before, and I’m not sure I liked it as well as in other stories, although it was sufficient for the plot.
**** Beware! Spoilers below!****
Book 1- Both Sides of Time
When Anna Sophia Lockwood gets out of school for the summer she heads for the old Stratton estate to see her boyfriend. While he’s busy working on cars, Annie begins to dream of what things must have been like in 1895 instead of 1995. Soon, her dreams become more and more real until she ‘falls’ through time and meets a young man, Strat, who lived a century earlier. It’s love at first sight, or rather, infatuation. I found this counterintuitive to the author’s apparent agenda to explain the contrasts between gender roles then and gender roles now I felt that if the author was trying to demystify the feminine sex and their ‘limitations’, then throwing in a stereotypical Hollywood teenage romance didn’t mesh. So, that was disappointing and definitely not demystifying. When Annie chooses at the end to act in the best interest of all involved, instead of just herself, you realize that maybe there is some genuine love to their relationship after all.
Book 2- Prisoner of Time
Annie’s brother Tod crosses time to save Strat’s sister, Devonny from a marriage she does not want. Interesting, but not really necessary to the series, and not as fully developed as I think it could have been.
Book 3- Out of Time
Annie Lockwood is scheming of a way to get back across time to see the love of her life, Hiram Stratton. Apparently, she forgot the selflessness that seemed so important to her at the end of book one. When she finally succeeds in crossing the barriers of time, she sets out to break gender-roles and prove that women can rescue men just as well as the opposite. She swoops in to rescue her true love who is rotting in an insane asylum (can we say prince in a tower waiting for a princess in shining armor?), and very selflessly allows him to leave her in the dust. Not exactly the reverse of your fairytale, since it seems she never ends up with the happily ever after. I really enjoyed the exposé on misconceptions of disabilities and disfigurements that definitely existed well into our own recent history and which still exist in many places of the world.
Book 4- For All Time
Annie schemes once again to fall back in time, only this time she’s tried too hard and fallen farther back in time than she ever meant to. All the way back to the time of Egyptian pyramids and elaborate tomb burials. At the same time Strat, who has managed to escape his evil father’s clutches, realizes that he may not be able to escape unless he too can travel through time. He and Annie must really be connected by love, because he shows up in the ancient Egyptian ruins at the perfect time, to resurrect the traditional fairytale plot. Only, once again, it appears there will be no happily ever after. Yet, the end leaves you hanging enough that you can concoct one of your own if you so desire.
A fun series, definitely trying to debunk some myths about the capabilities of women and the restrictions of past eras. And yet, at the same time largely perpetuating the myth that relationships are all about physical attraction. The last book does a better job of moving things to a different level, but I was left a bit unsatisfied by the ending that leaves you hanging. Of course, I like neatly trimmed and wrapped packages too. . .
On the whole, I recommend the series. I think the questions it raises are worth the time it takes to read. There’s enough action packed adventure, that the romance is only a small undercurrent, even if it is a major key to the plot. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed these even more as a teenager back when I didn’t know as much about life and love. What are your thoughts on writing for teenagers about love?