Ruby Red (Ruby Red Trilogy Series #1)

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Overview

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male ...

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Overview

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red is young adult novel full of fantasy and romance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Humorous, romantic and suspenseful, the plot is fast-paced and impossible to put down . . . . The final romantic cliffhanger will leave you thirsty for the next book in this ‘jewel’ of a series.” –Justine magazine

“Sixteen-year-old Londoner Gwyneth Shepherd comes from a family of time travelers. The gene was supposed to have skipped Gwen, but sneaks up on her unexpectedly in the middle of class one day and hurls her way back to the 18th century, where she meets an insufferable-turns-lovable time-traveling boy named Gideon. “ –TeenVogue.com

"Gier succeeds on her own terms, keeping the reader moving along, forward and backward in time, and ending with a revelation and a cliffhanger. Both will leave readers anticipating the publication of the next installment, ‘Sapphire Blue.’" The New York Times Book Review

“What makes this such a standout is the intriguingly drawn cast, stars and supporting players both, beginning with Gwen, whose key feature is her utter normality… Adventure, humor, and mystery all have satisfying roles here.” –Starred, Booklist

“The characters in Kerstin Gier's stellar story come fully to life, and veteran translator Anthea Bell (who translated Cornelia Funke's Inkheart books) preserves the book's abundant humor . . . . There’s something here for everyone.” -Shelf Awareness

“Teen readers will be eager to find out what happens to Gwen and Gideon in their next adventures, to be revealed in the second book of the trilogy, Sapphire Blue, followed by Emerald Green.” –BookPage

“Gier's romantic story is an excellent opportunity to explore fashions of the past, if nothing else, but it's also a page-turner that will have you wanting to learn German so you don't have to wait for the next translation to be published.” –Channel One.com

“As she narrates this fast-paced puzzler, Gwen convincingly conveys the bewilderment, fear and excitement of a teen rooted in the present but catapulted from her school-girl routine into the past. Bell’s deft translation captures an engaging heroine with a cell phone and a sense of humor, an emerging romance and a complex, unresolved time-travel mystery spanning four centuries.” Kirkus Reviews

“This first installment of a trilogy will soon find a new crop of fans in the United States. It’s a fun, engaging read that will be an easy sell for teens wanting to time travel with a delightful narrator.” –School Library Journal

“The first in a trilogy, Ruby Red offers romance, adventure, small details of various eras, and the complications that families can bring. It will mostly appeal to teenage girls who have a preference for reading romance.” VOYA

“…Gier's characters and plotting are first-rate, creating an adventure that should leave readers eager for the rest of the trilogy.” –Publishers Weekly

“A smart, entertaining read . . . Gwen, an outsider in her own family, is the perfect spunky, skeptical heroine.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Praise for Ruby Red, first published in Germany:

“An extremely appetizing mix of mystery thriller, science fiction and romantic adventure that readers will most likely devour in one sitting.”—Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung

“Thrilling and witty.”—Radio Bremen

“Guaranteed to be addictive.”—Badische Neueste Nachrichten

“As soon as you have managed to open this wonderful book, you won’t want to close it anymore! Superbly romantic, witty and—thank God—only the first part of this emotional time travel trilogy.”—Daisuki

“A sophisticated and adventurous fantasy story with a sense of humor.” —Nordbayerischer Kurier

“Bestselling author Kerstin Gier has written a romantic and funny story that will captivate readers until the very end. Truly mesmerizing.” —Kölnische Rundschau

“Exciting fantasy with lots of wordplay and a pinch of romance. Now the impatient waiting for Volume Two will start.” —Westfälische Nachrichten

“The very finest reading stuff.” —Buchmarkt

Susan Burton
Ruby Red is both suspenseful and comforting…The storytelling is fluid, and Gier is both clever and funny…
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Along with everyone else in her extended London household, 16-year-old Gwyneth believed that her cousin Charlotte was destined to be the family's next time-traveler. Unlike Charlotte, Gwyneth has no training in how to behave in other time periods, nor any background in the secret society of Guardians that protects the travelers—all vexingly inconvenient when Gwyneth starts popping back in time. What she does have is a mystery about why her mother lied about her birth date and a rocky partnership with fellow time-traveler Gideon. Gwyneth and Gideon are to fulfill the great quest of the Guardians and unlock a mysterious power, but the journeys prove perilous as they jaunt through 300 years of family secrets. First published in Germany, Gier's trilogy (Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green will follow) has met with success in Europe, though for a book set (at least partly) in the era of Google and cellphones, it has a quaint, old-fashioned feel. While some of the foreshadowing lacks subtlety, Gier's characters and plotting are first-rate, creating an adventure that should leave readers eager for the rest of the trilogy. Ages 12–up. (May)
Children's Literature - Emily Griffin
The first title in German author Kerstin Gier's "Ruby Red" trilogy. Popular internationally, Ruby Red introduces American readers to Gwen, a British sixteen-year-old who has inherited the ability to time travel. Her wacky family is part of a secret community who teach, protect, and generally manage the members who can time travel. When we met Gwen, she feels horribly ordinary and a misfit in her life. Her sister Charlotte was believed to be the family member carrying the time travel gene and as a result has been raised to believe she is unique and special. This quickly changes as Gwen accidentally goes back in time (think The Time Traveler's Wife but without the nudity) while Charlotte's ability has yet to manifest itself. Gier works to create intrigue and suspense during an exposition heavy first novel. As Gwen is thrust into training for her new life she learns about her family history, and secrets, by visiting her ancestors personally, accompanied by the attractive and arrogant Gideon, another teen time traveler. A good choice for teens interested in light sci-fi or fantasy without the paranormal focus. Since it is the first in a trilogy readers are left with questions and sense that Gwen's challenges will only increase. Though full of secrets and mystery Gier does inject humor and romance into this clever young adult novel. Reviewer: Emily Griffin
VOYA - Nicola McDonald
Sixteen-year-old Gwyneth has known all her life that a time-traveling gene runs in her family: her cousin, Charlotte, has been trained as the carrier since birth. Gwyneth starts to experience time traveling symptoms. When she suddenly finds herself sent to different eras three times within forty-eight hours, she begins to wonder whether her family made a mistake about who was to inherit the gene. The family is not so welcoming of the change. They must adjust, however, and Gwyneth's mother is scared that she has not been prepared for the wars and other terrors of some eras. Gwyneth meets Gideon, the eleventh of the twelve time travelers. Together, they must travel back in time to seek the information they need to close their circle. He seems arrogant and self-centered, but she can not help being attracted to him. The first in a trilogy, Ruby Red offers romance, adventure, small details of various eras, and the complications that families can bring. It will mostly appeal to teenage girls who have a preference for reading romance. The story starts out slow, but picks up throughout. The time traveling aspect is similar to Alexandra Monir's Timeless (Delacorte, 2011/VOYA April 2011), but requires more attention to detail for better understanding. Reviewer: Nicola McDonald
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Gwyneth Shepherd, 16, was born into an offbeat English family. Unfortunately, she has no real interest in its unique time-travel gene or the tedious fencing training and language lessons that come with being the chosen one. That's best left to her cousin, Charlotte, so when Gwyneth, rather than Charlotte, starts traveling to the past, she is entirely unprepared. She lacks adequate knowledge of history and etiquette, and her mother warns her not to trust the secret Society of the Guardians, whose job is to protect her. Gwyneth's only help comes from Gideon de Villiers, a handsome time traveler from another family. Together, they must face off against the formidable Count and uncover the mysterious disappearance of a stolen chronograph, a time machine. The teen describes her exploits with humor and naïveté. Aside from her special abilities (she can also see ghosts), she is every bit the typical teenager who bickers with her family, snoops with her best friend, and crushes on the snooty Gideon. This first installment of a trilogy will soon find a new crop of fans in the United States. It's a fun, engaging read that will be an easy sell for teens wanting to time travel with a delightful narrator.—Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Northampton Community College, Hawley, PA
Kirkus Reviews

A contemporary English teen discovers she possesses a gene enabling her to travel into the past in this riveting first volume of the Ruby Red trilogy. Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives in London with her mum's eccentric family. Her cousin Charlotte's the expected carrier of the family time-travel gene that has been passed along the female line since the 16th century, so Gwen's totally unprepared when sudden vertigo morphs into uncontrolled time travel working her as the gene carrier. Apparently her mum falsified Gwen's birth date to protect her from the Guardians, the old, powerful and dangerous secret society obsessively watching over the time travelers and protecting the chronograph, a device for negotiating time travel. To the Guardians, Gwen is the Ruby, the crucial last link in their Circle of Twelve, while 19-year-old Gideon, her handsome fellow time traveler in the male line, is the Diamond. Together Gwen and Gideon are expected to complete the Circle and solve an undefined mystery involving Count Saint-Germain, a malevolent time traveler from the 18th century. As she narrates this fast-paced puzzler, Gwen convincingly conveys the bewilderment, fear and excitement of a teen rooted in the present but catapulted from her school-girl routine into the past. Bell's deft translation captures an engaging heroine with a cell phone and a sense of humor, an emerging romance and a complex, unresolved time-travel mystery spanning four centuries. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312551513
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 5/22/2012
  • Series: Ruby Red Trilogy Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 45,814
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Kerstin Gier is the bestselling author of the Ruby Red trilogy, as well as several popular novels for adults. She lives in Germany.

 

Anthea Bell is the foremost translator of German literature in the world. And she thinks Ruby Red is just "charming"!

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Read an Excerpt

ONE

 

I FIRST FELT IT in the school canteen on Monday morning. For a moment it was like being on a roller coaster when you’re racing down from the very top. It lasted only two seconds, but that was long enough for me to dump a plateful of mashed potatoes and gravy all over my school uniform. I managed to catch the plate just in time, as my knife and fork clattered to the floor.

“This stuff tastes like it’s been scraped off the floor anyway,” said my friend Lesley while I mopped up the damage as well as I could. Of course everyone was looking at me. “You can have mine too, if you fancy spreading some more on your blouse.”

“No thanks.” As it happens, the blouse of the St. Lennox High School uniform was pretty much the color of mashed potatoes anyway, but you still couldn’t miss seeing the remaining globs of my lunch. I buttoned up my dark blue blazer over it.

“There goes Gwenny, playing with her food again!” said Cynthia Dale. “Don’t you sit next to me, you mucky pup.”

“As if I’d ever sit next to you of my own free will, Cyn.” It’s a fact, I’m afraid, that I did quite often have little accidents with school lunches. Only last week my pudding had hopped out of its dish and landed a few feet away, right in a Year Seven boy’s spaghetti carbonara. The week before that I’d knocked my cranberry juice over, and everyone at our table was splashed. They looked as if they had measles. And I really couldn’t count the number of times the stupid tie that’s part of our school uniform had been drenched in sauce, juice, or milk.

Only I’d never felt dizzy at the same time before.

But I was probably just imagining it. There’d been too much talk at home recently about dizzy feelings.

Not mine, though: my cousin Charlotte’s dizzy spells. Charlotte, beautiful and immaculate as ever, was sitting right there next to Cynthia, gracefully scooping mashed potatoes into her delicate mouth.

The entire family was on tenterhooks, waiting for Charlotte to have a dizzy fit. On most days, my grandmother, Lady Arista, asked Charlotte how she was feeling every ten minutes. My aunt Glenda, Charlotte’s mother, filled the ten-minute gap by asking the same thing in between Lady Arista’s interrogations.

And whenever Charlotte said that she didn’t feel dizzy, Lady Arista’s lips tightened and Aunt Glenda sighed. Or sometimes the other way around.

The rest of us—my mum, my sister Caroline, my brother Nick, and Great-aunt Maddy—rolled our eyes. Of course it was exciting to have someone with a time-travel gene in the family, but as the days went by, the excitement kind of wore off. Sometimes we felt that all the fuss being made over Charlotte was just too much.

Charlotte herself usually hid her feelings behind a mysterious Mona Lisa smile. In her place, I wouldn’t have known whether to be excited or worried if dizzy feelings failed to show up. Well, to be honest, I’d probably have been pleased. I was more the timid sort. I liked peace and quiet.

“Something will happen sooner or later,” Lady Arista said every day. “And we must be ready.”

Sure enough, something did happen after lunch, in Mr. Whitman’s history class. I’d left the canteen feeling hungry. I’d found a black hair in my dessert—apple crumble with custard—and I couldn’t be sure if it was one of my own hairs or a lunch lady’s. Anyway, I didn’t fancy the crumble after that.

Mr. Whitman gave us back the history test we’d taken last week. “You obviously prepared well for it. Especially Charlotte. An A-plus for you, Charlotte.”

Charlotte stroked a strand of her glossy red hair back from her face and said, “Oh, my!” as if the result came as a surprise to her. Even though she always had top marks in everything.

But Lesley and I were pleased with our own grades this time, too. We each had an A-minus, although our “preparation” had consisted of eating crisps and ice cream while we watched Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth and then Elizabeth: The Golden Age on DVD. We did pay attention in history class, though, which I’m afraid couldn’t be said for all our other courses.

Mr. Whitman’s classes were so intriguing that you couldn’t help listening. Mr. Whitman himself was also very interesting. Most of the girls were secretly—or not so secretly—in love with him. So was our geography teacher, Mrs. Counter. She went bright red whenever Mr. Whitman passed her. And he was terribly good-looking. All the girls thought so, except Lesley. She thought Mr. Whitman looked like a cartoon squirrel.

“Whenever he looks at me with those big brown eyes, I feel like giving him a nut,” she said. She even started calling the squirrels running around in the park Mr. Whitmans. The silly thing is that somehow it was infectious, and now, whenever a squirrel scuttled past me, I always said, “Oh, look at that cute, fat little Mr. Whitman!”

I’m sure it was the squirrel business that made Lesley and me the only girls in the class who weren’t crazy about Mr. Whitman. I kept trying to fall in love with him (if only because the boys in our class were all somehow totally childish), but it was no good. The squirrel comparison had lodged itself in my mind and wouldn’t go away. I mean, how can you feel romantic about a squirrel?

Cynthia had started the rumor that when he was studying, Mr. Whitman had worked as a male model on the side. By way of evidence, she’d cut an ad out of a glossy magazine, with a picture showing a man not unlike Mr. Whitman lathering himself with shower gel.

Apart from Cynthia, however, no one thought Mr. Whitman was the man in the shower-gel ad. The model had a dimple in his chin, and Mr. Whitman didn’t.

The boys in our class didn’t think Mr. Whitman was so great. Gordon Gelderman, in particular, couldn’t stand him. Because before Mr. Whitman came to teach in our school, all the girls in our class were in love with Gordon. Including me, I have to admit, but I was only eleven at the time and Gordon was still quite cute. Now, at sixteen, he was just stupid. And his voice had been in a permanent state of breaking for the last two years. Unfortunately, the mixture of squealing and growling still didn’t keep him from spewing nonsense all the time.

He got very upset about getting an F on the history test. “That’s discrimination, Mr. Whitman. I deserve a B at least. You can’t give me bad marks just because I’m a boy.”

Mr. Whitman took Gordon’s test back from him, turned a page, and read out, “Elizabeth I was so ugly that she couldn’t get a husband. So everyone called her the Ugly Virgin.”

The class giggled.

“Well? I’m right, aren’t I?” Gordon defended himself. “I mean, look at her pop-eyes and her thin lips and that weird hairstyle.”

We’d gone to study the pictures of the Tudors in the National Portrait Gallery, and in those paintings, sure enough, Queen Elizabeth I didn’t look much like Cate Blanchett. But first, maybe people in those days thought thin lips and big noses were the last word in chic, and second, her clothes were really wonderful. Third, no, Elizabeth I didn’t have a husband, but she had a lot of affairs, among them one with Sir … oh, what was his name? Anyway, Clive Owen played him in the second film with Cate Blanchett.

“She was known as the Virgin Queen,” Mr. Whitman told Gordon, “because…” He paused and looked anxiously at Charlotte. “Are you feeling all right, Charlotte? Do you have a headache?”

Everyone looked at Charlotte, who had her head in her hands. “I feel … I just feel dizzy,” she said, looking at me. “Everything’s going round and round.”

I took a deep breath. So here we go, I thought. Lady Arista and Aunt Glenda would be over the moon.

“Wow, cool,” whispered Lesley. “Is she going to turn all transparent now?” Although Lady Arista had repeatedly told us that under no circumstances were we ever to tell any outsider what was special about our family, I’d decided to ignore the ban when it came to Lesley. After all, she was my very best friend, and best friends don’t have secrets from each other.

Since I’d known Charlotte (which in fact was all my life), she’d always seemed somewhat helpless. But I knew what to do. Goodness knows Aunt Glenda had told me often enough.

“I’ll take Charlotte home,” I told Mr. Whitman, as I stood up. “If that’s okay.”

Mr. Whitman’s gaze was fixed on Charlotte. “I think that’s a good idea, Gwyneth,” he said. “I hope you feel better soon, Charlotte.”

“Thanks,” said Charlotte. On the way to the door, she swayed slightly. “Coming, Gwenny?”

I grabbed her arm. For the first time I felt quite important to Charlotte. It was a nice feeling to be needed for a change.

“Don’t forget to phone and tell me all about it,” Lesley whispered as we passed her.

Feeling slightly better outside the classroom, Charlotte wanted to fetch some things from her locker, but I held her firmly by the sleeve. “Not now, Charlotte! We have to get home as fast as possible. Lady Arista says—”

“It’s gone again,” said Charlotte.

“So? It could come back any moment.” Charlotte let me steer her the other way. “Where did I put that chalk?” As we walked on, I searched my jacket pocket. “Oh, good, here it is. And my mobile. Shall I call home? Are you scared? Silly question, sorry. I’m so excited.”

“It’s okay. No, I’m not scared.”

I glanced sideways at her to check whether she was telling the truth. She had that snooty little Mona Lisa smile on her face. You could never tell what she was hiding behind it.

“Well, shall I call home?”

“What use would that be?” Charlotte replied.

“I just figured—”

“You can leave the thinking to me, don’t worry,” said Charlotte.

We went down the stone steps to the place where James always sat. He rose to his feet when he saw us, but I just smiled at him. The trouble with James was that no one else could see or hear him—only me.

James was a ghost. Which is why I avoided talking to him when other people were around, except for Lesley. She’d never doubted James’s existence for a second. Lesley believed everything I said, and that was one of the reasons she was my best friend. She was only sorry she couldn’t see and hear James herself.

But I was glad of it, because when James first set eyes on Lesley, he said, “Good heavens above, the poor child has more freckles than there are stars in the sky! If she doesn’t start using a good bleaching lotion at once, she’ll never catch herself a husband!”

Whereas the first thing Lesley said when I introduced them to each other was “Ask him if he ever buried treasure anywhere.”

Unfortunately James was not the treasure-burying type, and he was rather insulted that Lesley thought he might be. He was easily insulted.

“Is he transparent?” Lesley had asked at that first meeting. “Or kind of black and white?”

James looked just like anyone I’d ever met. Except for his clothes, of course.

“Can you walk through him?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never tried.”

“Then try now,” Lesley suggested.

James was not about to let me try that.

“What does she mean, a ghost? The Honorable James Augustus Peregrine Pympoole-Bothame, heir to the fourteenth Earl of Hardsdale, is taking no insults from young girls!”

Like so many ghosts, he refused to accept that he wasn’t alive anymore. Try as he might, he couldn’t remember dying. James and I had met five years ago, on my first day at St. Lennox High School, but to James it seemed only a few days ago that he was sitting in his club playing cards with friends and talking about horses, beauty spots, and wigs. (He wore both a beauty spot and a wig, but they looked better on him than you might think.) He completely ignored the fact that I’d grown several inches since we first met, had acquired breasts, and braces on my teeth, and had shed the braces again. He dismisssed the fact that his father’s grand town house had become a school with running water, electric light, and central heating. The only thing he did seem to notice from time to time was the ever-decreasing length of our school uniform skirts. Obviously girls’ legs and ankles hadn’t often been on show in his time.

“It’s not very civil of a lady to walk past a highborn gentleman without a word, Miss Gwyneth,” he called after me now. He was deeply offended that I’d brushed past him.

“Sorry. We’re in a hurry,” I said.

“If I can help you in any way, I am, of course, entirely at your service,” James said, adjusting the lace on his cuffs.

“I don’t think so, but thanks anyway. We just have to get home, fast.” As if James could possibly have helped in any way! He couldn’t even open a door. “Charlotte isn’t feeling well,” I explained.

“I’m very sorry to hear it,” said James, who had a soft spot for Charlotte. Unlike “that ill-mannered girl with the freckles,” as he called Lesley, he thought my cousin was “delightful, a vision of beguiling charm.” Now he offered more of his flowery flattery. “Pray give her my best wishes. And tell her she looks as enchanting as ever. A little pale, but as captivating as a fairy.”

“I’ll tell her,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“If you don’t stop talking to your imaginary friend,” snapped Charlotte, “you’ll end up in the nuthouse.”

Okay, then I wouldn’t tell her. She was conceited enough as it was.

“James isn’t imaginary, just invisible. There’s a great difference.”

“If you say so,” replied Charlotte. She and Aunt Glenda thought I just made up James and the other ghosts for attention. Now I was sorry I’d ever told Charlotte about them. As a small child, though, I couldn’t manage to keep my mouth shut about gargoyles coming to life—scrambling down the fronts of buildings before my very eyes and twisting their Gothic faces for me to see. The gargoyles were funny, but there were also some dark, grim-looking ghosts, and I was afraid of those. It took me a couple of years to realize that ghosts can’t hurt you. All they can really do to people is scare them.

Not James, of course. He was not frightening in the least.

“Lesley thinks it may be a good thing that James died young. With a name like Pympoole-Bothame, how would he ever have found a wife?” I said, after making sure James was out of hearing distance. “I mean, who’d marry a man with a name that sounds like Pimple-Bottom?”

Charlotte rolled her eyes.

“He’s not bad-looking,” I went on. “And he’s filthy rich too—if he’s telling the truth about his family. It’s just his habit of raising a perfumed lace hanky to his nose that doesn’t exactly make me swoon.”

“What a shame there’s no one but you to admire him,” said Charlotte.

I thought so myself.

“And how stupid of you to talk about how weird you are outside the family,” added Charlotte.

That was another of Charlotte’s typical digs. It was meant to hurt me, and as a matter of fact, it did.

“I’m not weird!”

“Of course you are!”

“You’re a fine one to talk, gene carrier!”

“Well, I don’t go blabbing on about it all over the place,” said Charlotte. “You’re like Great-aunt Mad Maddy. She even tells the postman about her visions.”

“You’re a jerk.”

“And you’re naive.”

Still quarreling, we walked through the front hall, past the janitor’s glazed cubicle, and out into the school yard. The wind was picking up, and the ominous sky held the promise of rain. I wished we had grabbed our coats from our lockers.

“Sorry I said that about you being like Great-aunt Maddy,” said Charlotte, suddenly sounding remorseful. “I’m excited, but I am a bit nervous as well.”

I was surprised. Charlotte never apologized.

“I know,” I replied almost too quickly. I wanted her to know that I appreciated her apology. But in reality, I couldn’t have been further from understanding how she felt. I’d have been scared out of my wits. In her shoes, I’d have been about as excited as if I were going to the dentist. “Anyway, I like Great-aunt Maddy,” I added. That was true. Great-aunt Maddy might be a bit talkative and inclined to say everything four times over, but I liked that a lot better than the mysterious way the others carried on. And Great-aunt Maddy was always very generous when it came to handing out sherbet lemons.

But of course Charlotte didn’t like sweets.

We crossed the road and hurried on along the pavement.

“Don’t keep glancing at me sideways like that,” said Charlotte. “You’ll notice if I disappear, don’t worry. Then you’ll have to make your silly chalk mark on the pavement and hurry on home. But it’s not going to happen. Not today.”

“How can you know? And don’t you wonder where you’ll end up? I mean, when you’ll end up?”

“Yes, of course I do,” said Charlotte.

“Let’s hope it’s not in the middle of the Great Fire of 1664.”

“The Great Fire of London was in 1666,” said Charlotte. “That’s easy to remember. And at the time this part of the city wasn’t built up yet, so there’d have been hardly anything to burn here.”

Did I say that Charlotte was also known as Spoilsport and Miss Know-it-all?

But I wasn’t dropping the subject. It may have been mean of me, but I wanted to wipe the silly smile off her face, if only for a couple of seconds. “These school uniforms would probably burn like tinder,” I said casually.

“I’d know what to do” was all Charlotte said, still smiling.

I hated myself for admiring how cool she was right now. To me, the idea of suddenly landing in the past was totally terrifying.

The past would have been awful, no matter what period you landed in. There was always some horrible thing lurking there—war, smallpox, the plague. If you said the wrong thing, you could be burnt as a witch. Plus, everyone had fleas, and you had to use chamber pots, which were tipped out of upstairs windows in the morning—even if someone was walking along the street below.

But Charlotte had been carefully prepared to find her way around in the past from the time she should have been rocking dolls in her elegant arms. She’d never had time to play or make friends, go shopping, go to the cinema, or date boys. Instead she’d been taught dancing, fencing, and riding, foreign languages, and history. And since last year she’d been going out every Wednesday afternoon with Lady Arista and Aunt Glenda, and they didn’t come home until late in the evening. They called it an introduction to the mysteries. But no one—especially not Charlotte—would say what kind of mysteries.

Her first sentence when she learnt to talk had probably been “It’s a secret.” Closely followed by “That’s none of your business.”

Lesley always said our family must have more secrets than MI5 and MI6 put together. She was probably right.

Normally we took the bus home from school. The number 8 stopped in Berkeley Square, and it wasn’t far from there to our house. Today we went the four stops on foot, as Aunt Glenda had told us we should when Charlotte had a dizzy spell. I kept my bit of chalk at the ready the whole time, but Charlotte never disappeared.

As we went up the steps to our front door, I was somewhat disappointed, because this was where my part in the ordeal came to an end. Now my grandmother would take over, and I would once again be exiled from the world of mysteries.

I tugged at Charlotte’s sleeve. “Look! The man in black is there again.”

“So?” Charlotte didn’t even look around. The man was standing in the entrance of number 18, opposite. As usual, he wore a black trench coat and a hat pulled right down over his face. I’d taken him for a ghost until I realized that Nick, Caroline, and Lesley could see him too.

He’d been keeping watch on our house almost around the clock for months. Or maybe there were several men who looked exactly the same taking turns. We argued about whether the man was a burglar casing the joint, a private detective, or a wicked magician. That last one was my sister’s theory, and she firmly believed in it. Caroline was nine and loved stories about wicked magicians and good fairies. My brother, Nick, was twelve and thought stories about magicians and fairies were silly, so he figured the man must be a burglar. Lesley and I backed the private detective.

If we tried to cross the road for a closer look at the man, he would either disappear into the building behind him or slip into a black Bentley, which was always parked by the curb, and drive away.

“It’s a magic car,” Caroline claimed. “It turns into a raven when no one’s looking. And the magician turns into a tiny little man and rides through the air on the raven’s back.”

Nick had made a note of the Bentley’s license plate, just in case. “Although they’re sure to paint the car after the burglary and fit a new license plate,” he said.

The grown-ups acted as if they saw nothing suspicious about being watched day and night by a man wearing a hat and dressed entirely in black.

Nor did Charlotte. “What’s biting you lot about the poor man? He’s just standing there to smoke a cigarette, that’s all.”

“Oh, really?” I was more likely to believe the story about the enchanted raven.

It had started raining. We reached home not a moment too soon.

“Do you at least feel dizzy again?” I asked as we waited for the door to be opened. We didn’t have our own front-door keys.

“Just leave me alone,” said Charlotte. “It will happen when the time comes.”

Mr. Bernard opened the door for us. Lesley said Mr. Bernard was our butler and the ultimate proof that we were almost as rich as the Queen or Madonna. But I didn’t know exactly who or what Mr. Bernard really was. To Mum, he was “Grandmother’s lackey,” but Lady Arista called him “an old family friend.” To Caroline and Nick and me, he was simply Lady Arista’s rather weird manservant.

At the sight of us, his eyebrows shot up.

“Hello, Mr. Bernard,” I said. “Nasty weather.”

“Very nasty.” With his hooked nose and brown eyes behind his round, gold-rimmed glasses, Mr. Bernard always reminded me of an owl. “You really ought to wear your coats when you leave the house on a day like this.”

“Er … yes, we ought to,” I said.

“Where’s Lady Arista?” asked Charlotte. She was never particularly polite to Mr. Bernard. Perhaps because, unlike the rest of us, she hadn’t felt any awe of him when she was a child. Although, and this really was awe-inspiring, he seemed able to materialize out of nowhere right behind you in any part of the house, moving as quietly as a cat. Nothing got past Mr. Bernard, and he always seemed to be on the alert for something.

Mr. Bernard had been with us since before I was born, and Mum said he had been there when she was still a little girl. That made Mr. Bernard almost as old as Lady Arista, even if he didn’t look it. He had his own rooms on the second floor, with a separate corridor in which we children were forbidden even to set foot.

My brother, Nick, said Mr. Bernard had built-in trapdoors and elaborate alarm systems up there, so that he could watch out for unwelcome visitors, but Nick couldn’t prove it. None of us had ever dared to venture into the out-of-bounds area.

“Mr. Bernard needs his privacy,” Lady Arista often said.

“How right,” said Mum. “I think we could all of us do with some of that.” But she said it so quietly that Lady Arista didn’t hear her.

“Your grandmother is in the music room,” Mr. Bernard informed Charlotte.

“Thank you.” Charlotte left us in the hall and went upstairs. The music room was on the first floor, and no one knew why it was called that. There wasn’t even a piano in it.

The music room was Lady Arista’s and Great-aunt Maddy’s favorite place. It smelled of faded violet perfume and the stale smoke of Lady Arista’s cigarillos. The stuffy room wasn’t aired nearly often enough, and staying in it for too long made you feel drowsy.

Mr. Bernard closed the front door. I took one more quick look past him at the other side of the street. The man with the hat was still there. Was I wrong, or was he just raising his hand almost as if he were waving to someone? Mr. Bernard, maybe, or even me?

The door closed, and I couldn’t follow that train of thought any longer because my stomach suddenly flipped again, as if I were on a roller coaster. Everything blurred before my eyes. My knees gave way, and I had to lean against the wall to keep from falling down.

But as quickly as it had come on, the feeling was gone.

My heart was thumping like crazy. There must be something wrong with me. Without being on an actual carnival ride, you couldn’t possibly feel dizzy this often without something being terribly wrong.

Unless … oh, nonsense! I was probably just growing too fast. Or I had … I had a brain tumor? Or maybe, I thought, brushing that nasty notion aside, it was only that I was hungry.

Yes, that must be it. I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. My lunch had landed on my blouse. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Only then did I notice Mr. Bernard’s owlish eyes looking attentively at me.

“Whoops,” he said, a little too late.

I felt myself blushing. “I’ll … I’ll go and do my homework,” I muttered.

Mr. Bernard just nodded casually. But as I climbed the stairs, I could feel his eyes on my back.

 

Back from Durham, where I visited Lord Montrose’s younger daughter, Grace Shepherd, whose daughter was unexpectedly born the day before yesterday. We are all delighted to record the birth of

Gwyneth Sophie Elizabeth Shepherd

5 lbs 8 oz., 20 in.

Mother and child both doing well.

Heartfelt congratulations to our Grand Master on the birth of his fifth grandchild.

FROM THE ANNALS OF THE GUARDIANS

10 OCTOBER 1994

REPORT: THOMAS GEORGE, INNER CIRCLE

 

Text copyright © 2011 by Kerstin Gier

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 198 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(108)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 198 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 14, 2012

    I was extremely disappointed with this book. I read all of the r

    I was extremely disappointed with this book. I read all of the reviews before I purchased it, but I feel that they are misleading. The premise of the story is great, but the execution of that premise is horrible. I understand that this is marked as a Teen book, but I still feel that the writing in and of itself was poorly done. There is very little being shown to you, and instead, everything is being told. It was not on par to many of the Teen novels out there today.

    The character development was nearly non existent. The plot itself ended up being much more boring than the premise made it out to be. There was nothing that really, truly drew me into the book.

    Normally, I do not like to leave series unfinished. However, this was so poorly written that I don't think I will be continuing the series. I think the author had a good idea, but didn't execute it nearly as well as I feel she could have.

    16 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2011

    Loved It!!!!

    If I had known the other two books hadn't been translated I might not have read this book just yet. Because I don't know if I'll be able to wait for the next two books to be translated. Wish I knew German!!! Loved the book. There are a lot of characters, but at the back of the book is a character list with short descriptions. Must read!!!

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    AMAZING A MUST READ

    AMAZING book i couldn't put it down after i started it i would recommend this book to everybody

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2011

    Loved it!

    I thought it was great. It kept the story flowing from begining to end. My only let down was it wasn't long enough. And we have to wait till spring till for the next one to come out. I hope it's long read.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    L

    Out of 37 reviews we have 12 that are plot spoilers. What is it with these posters that posts these loooooong reviews revealing every detail? They should be banned from posting. I personally would love to see them banned and fined for ruining books for others. If you want to dissect every sentence go to a blog or web site but STOP RUINING IT FOR THE REST OF US.

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Started out a little slow, but became very amazing. I cannot wai

    Started out a little slow, but became very amazing. I cannot wait for
    Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Five Stars Nuff Said

    So amazing that I almost cried when it said there is going to be another book... That isn't even out yet!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    Thi is a great book

    I got this book at my local library and was amazed at how good and brilliant book it was!!!!!!! Vicky

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2011

    Love it!

    Great book, you are going to love it!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic Book!

    4.5 Stars

    This book blew me away. I mean, what is there in this book that is not for me to love. It has an amazing story, amazing characters and TIME TRAVEL!!!

    Ruby Red was a really new take on time travel. In this book there is no time machine like the TARDIS are mythical powers that allow a person to travel in time. Instead, there are two families who carry a gene for time travel. They are the only two families who carry this gene. The gene carries them back in time and there is no way to prevent it. They do have a machine that works on science that helps to control the time travel. The element of time travel is huge in this book. Gier combines part science and part magic to make her time travel occur and I loved it.

    The writing and story-telling in Ruby Red is top quality. The writing was very mature and
    descriptive. The writing felt like that of older fairy tales or stories. And then the story-telling was perfect. The plot unfolded at a perfect pace. Once again, this book reminded me of a fairy tale. I felt the writing along with the story makes this book have the potential to be a modern day fairy tale. While it doesn't have princess or princes, it just has the classical fairy tale feel, or at least for me it did. I do want to say that because this book is translated, I do not know if it has the same feel in German as in English, but the translator did a beautiful job.

    The characters in Ruby Red were all really enjoyable. I feel as if each character in this book has a secret that has yet to be revealed to us yet. There are parts of each character that remain a mystery as of yet. The main character Gwyneth was a enjoyable narrator. She was thrust unexpectedly into the role of time-traveler and reacted the way one would if they suddenly traveled in time. I really liked Gwyneth because she felt like an authentic teenager. Then there is Gideon. Gideon to me is still a mystery. He is not your typical swoon worthy hero. At first he is kind of a jerk, but there is still something about him. I feel like we still have much to learn about him and I cannot wait to discover more about who he is.

    And now I want to talk about how evil that ending was. The ending was PERFECT in a really evil way. It kind of left the main characters in the middle of a scene but it was a perfect cliffhanger. Now I want to say, if an excerpt for the next book is included in the first book I usually do not read it, but with Ruby Red I HAD TO read that excerpt. I just needed to know what happened next.

    Ruby Red is a beautifully crafted story. It spoiled other books for me afterwards. I truly wish I could read German so I could go and buy the next two books in the series and read them now because I do not know how I am going to wait for them to be published in English!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    AMAZKNG AMAZING BOOK

    I really loved the book. I thought it was amazing and wonderful. Most definetly recommended to friends

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Anonymous

    I really liked Ruby Red primarily because it held my interest through out the story. The general idea and the plot line were wonderful, but the book seemed to be over too soon. It was easy to follow, but seemed like it ended JUST when some of the really interesting parts started to unfold. Definately not for adults, but i think most teens that like books about time travel with complicated mysterious plots, and a bit of a love interest, would really enjoy it. I cant wait for the next books to be translated to english, and only hope that they last a bit longer, and dont end with so many questions and cliff hangers.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fascinating history and a very unique story!

    I was so excited when I started reading Ruby Red! I had read multiple comments about how good it was and I was definitely not let down! I loved this book, the story and how unique it was. Kerstin Gier added so many details (so many) that you would never think of thinking about. All the details and little things added up created a whole new experience for me as a reader.

    Gwyneth is just an ordinary girl who finds out she's so much more than ordinary. Her cousin, Charlotte, is thought to be the one who most recently got the time-travel gene. Charlotte that thinks she's all that and a bag of chips.and more. When Gwyneth starts time-traveling and takes Charlotte's place, the family matters blow up and Gwyneth has to learn the art of traveling in rushed time.

    I loved that Gwyneth was still just a normal girl who had a weird gift. She didn't get conceited at all, so it made it easy to relate to her throughout the book. I also really loved the all of the other characters. Like I said, the details were absolutely amazing, so it felt as if everyone could have been a true person. I think I may want to read it all over again!

    I'm a sucker for romance, but when I found there isn't much at all in Ruby Red, I was surprisingly okay with this. I think this is because the world and environment Gier created is too awesome! The reader can't help but to be absorbed by the details and the history of the travelers and Guardians. I was basically excited the whole time - not a bad thing though!

    I suggest everyone read Ruby Red. It was a pleasant surprise and I can't wait for the second book!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good book!

    So as I began this book, I was little confused as to what is going on. It took me a while to get into and really see the big picture. But never fear. It didn't take me that long to get into it but it take take me by surprise of how much I really liked this book. It did, however remind of The Time Travelers Wife but with the elements of teenagers as well as a magic society that has been around for centuries.

    First off the plot line is amazingly good. I loved how they time traveled back to the past and be in historical times. I LOVE IT! I loved reading things as they were in that time, then flying back to the present. Another element in this story that really captured me is the society that protects these time travelers. I love the history of the soctiey, the way it is incorporated with birthstones, and what they do. This society right here brought so much more to the story that it made me giddy. I love when an author can give me not only a great book but great history on it as well. It answers questions but also proposes a great story line that is easy to dive into

    The love interest in this story didn't really grab me as much as I wanted it to. As much as I enjoyed watching the two work together and time travel, I really didn't feel the love. I like that they flirted, and spent time together, but I felt that they sparked that they need just wasn't there. At least not for me.

    Ruby Red is a great book that I loved. It had a great history on it that made you dive deeper into the story becoming a time traveler. You saw the world, through a whole another set of eyes and the reader is in awe.
    If you love time travelers stories with a twist, read this book. I can assure you that you will travel to places that you never been before!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014

    Hmmmm

    I admit when i first picked this book up i thought, this is going to be stupid, but i read it anyways i was bored. I was wrong. A intrestesting novel, well crafted and kept me enticed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Pretty good

    Unlike some of you, I read just to enjoy reading. The stories are important and are to be judged on the story. In my opinion just because an author doesn't write like everybody else, it doesn't make them bad. I thought it was a wonderful book, the characters were realistic and the story was believeable. (Yes I'm well aware that time travel doesn't exist. I mean the plot wasn't too fast or choppy.) For those of you who just want to enjoy a good story, this is a good book for you. Most of my fellow reviewers are correct, this is a very good story with a realistic main character that actually seems like a real person. (Oh, how rare a find that is!) I think you should give this book a try, you'll be suprised when you realize that you've been reading for four hours and have forgotten to do your homework. (Oops.) I was unable to put this book down and it has been so long since I've read a book good enough for me to sneak out the flashlight and read in bed at night when I should be sleeping. The book is a good read and worth a try.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    This book was SOSOSO good that I read it in one night and got th

    This book was SOSOSO good that I read it in one night and got the next book the next day. The time travel thing is what interested me and what made me read this story. I read that some were disappointed with the story because of the plot and climax... well that is why there is a series, so you can find out what it all means in the next books. If you are like me and want to make sure you like the book first before you buy it... then go to the library so you don't regret buying a bad book. Happens to the best of us.
    But seriously if you like 'out of the norm' things like time travel mixed with mystery and a hint of romance, the you will like this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2013

    What is not to like ? Time travel....characters that have univer

    What is not to like ? Time travel....characters that have universal appeal YAY. I am having a hard time waiting for Emerald Green to come out

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Ruby Red by Ker

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

    Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
    Book One of the Edelstein Trilogie
    Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
    Publciation Date: March 10, 2011
    Rating: 5 stars
    Source: Public library

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

    Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.


    What I Liked:

    I LOVED this book so much!!!! I read it back in like, Spring 2011, but I read it so many times, I can still remember most everything! I usually hate time-travel books, or really dislike them, but this book is amazing!

    I love Gwyneth! She is so cute and brave at the same time! I love her ability to adjust and adapt, even with her foul cousin hanging around. Gwyneth is brave, but inside, she is completely terrified of what is put in front of her. It could not have been easy to understand and go through all of that time-traveling drama, especially with the snobby members of the Society and Charlotte acting high and mighty, but Gwyneth handled herself so well throughout this book.

    This book is very light, with plenty of fun humor, but it is also very complex. When Gwyneth finds out about time-travel, she is thrown into the world of the gifted families and the prophecies relating to each gem (Gwyneth is a ruby, Gideon is a diamond, etc.). Also, almost immediately, the Society realizes that there have been strange activity going on with time-travel, all relating to Gwyneth's cousin Lucy, and Gideon's relative Paul. It gets twisted everyone! Very complex! But in a good, non-confusing way. I love it.

    THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE!!!! Kind of. I do not count Charlotte for anything. She sucks. And I rather like Gideon with Gwyneth (I do not think that is a spoiler).


    What I Did Not Like:

    There is not much I can say here. I adore this book.


    Would I Recommend It:

    YES!!! To time-travel and non-time-travel fans alike! Trust me, this book is not hard to follow and understand, though things get complicated fast. I LOVE IT!!!


    Rating:

    5 stars (this was one of my favorites of 2011! But I did not have a blog back then)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2013

    Anonymous

    This book was AMAZING!!!! It held my attention through out the whole thing and read it in a day... same with saphirre blue, cant wait for Emerald Green to come out!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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