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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
58


on 20 June 2017
I have loved this book since childhood and it gave me my first glimpse of that period of history; I was hooked.
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on 1 April 2017
This is a lovely story that I remembered from the television dramatisation in the early 1970's. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and time travelling once again as I did when I watched it. A very good read.
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on 8 November 2016
A lovely book suitable for adults and older children a rare find in this age of sophistication and reality
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on 7 August 2017
A childhood favourite of mine which I constantly revisit and it never loses its magic!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 September 2012
I didn't know about this story as a child, so I'm coming to it as an adult reader.

It was published in the 1930s, and the author, Alison Uttley, was a trained physicist who was deeply interested in theories of time travel and thought it actually existed. She handles the time-slip side in a very interesting way, almost like Penelope (the "modern" character) is haunting the past like a future ghost, but still able to be seen and touched by the past-life characters.

Penelope is a child in the early part of the twentieth century who is originally from Chelsea, London, but is sent with her brother and sister to the countryside of Derbyshire to improve her health. Her family have lived in an old manor house called Thackers for centuries, originally as servants to the aristocrats who once lived there. Penelope starts sliding back and forth between the twentieth century and the late sixteenth century. She discovers the lord then is Anthony Babington, a young golden-haired nobleman who in a modern film version would have to be played by Orlando Bloom, and he has several other relatives including Francis, who would have to be played by Orlando Bloom's fourteen-year-old brother.

The novel goes over two years, so Penelope grows up into a young teenager and starts having feelings for Francis, while the world has a crush on Anthony, and he has a crush on the beautiful Mary Queen of Scots, who is a prisoner in a nearby castle. When she is moved to the manor house down the road, Anthony gets quite excited and creates a plan to rescue her. Penelope, who knows what is going to happen from history lessons at school (the Babington Plot is a real historical event) can't tell him what she knows.

It has one of the most poignant endings of any novel I've ever read. I'm actually going to miss those characters.

For a 21st-century child, I would put the reading age at 11+ years, as it is very richly written with lots of description of the countryside and the Edwardian and Elizabethan worlds that Penelope inhabits.

But I don't think it is just a children's book. It can be read on a very adult level as well. Maybe there should be two editions with different covers for the two audiences, like they did with the "Harry Potter" series.
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on 4 January 2008
Did you ever stand in an ancient place almost hearing the voices of the past, did you ever long to be part of a magical adventure? 'A Traveller in Time' takes readers to the time of Mary Queen of Scots: beautiful language, evocative descriptions, magic, drama are all crafted in this wonderful tale.
I lost a treasured copy and searched for another only to find it out of print, well done Jane Nissen books for restoring a national treasure.
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on 18 July 2017
One of the favourites of my childhood. So much so that it is one of half a dozen children's books I sought out on Amazon as soon as I had an ebook - 50 years later! :-) The fascination of time travel, the charm of slipping into the past and reliving times gone by, the bittersweet regret of witnessing a chain of events unfold with the knowledge of hindsight from the future, all this makes this dreamy, whimsical, magical story an unforgettable book for any young fan of historical romance
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on 31 October 2011
I have little to add to the other reviews, but just wanted to put my hand up and say what a brilliant book this is. The characters and setting are beautifully evoked and you can almost imagine yourself there with the heroine Penelope.

This book deserves a much wider audience and to be recognised for the classic and national treasure that it is. I'm only sorry that Alison Uttley didn't write more. What an amazing talent.
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on 21 January 2002
Like all the other reviewers, I have loved this book since childhood - but it is much too good just to be left to children!! It really can be read by any age group; all that is needed is an appreciation of beautiful writing, a love of history and the ability to lose yourself in atmosphere. Oh, and by the way, all the places in the book are real places in Derbyshire and can be visited; you just have to know how to find them.
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on 18 August 2017
I read this book many years ago as a set book when I was at grammar school. Initially, I thought it was going to be one of those dreary historical novels that one reads from time to time, but I was totally entranced by the beautiful way that this was written. The fact that the novel was based on real historical events with a tragic ending made it all the more poignant. I never quite forgot this book, and many years later I decided to read it again in my retirement years. It had lost none of its magic and again, I quietly wept at the ending. Truly, a book for all ages.
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