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While her mother undergoes treatment for cancer, thirteen-year-old Ginny is sent to live with her father in England, where she becomes part of an archeological experiment to investigate life during the Iron Age.
When Ginny arrived at London's Gatwick Airport after an eight-hour transatlantic flight, her father was not there to meet her. She was thirteen years old, and her sole preparation for emergencies was one hundred dollars in American bills and a fist of telephone numbers. She had not wanted to make this visit, much less make it by herself, but she was under the impression that her father was looking forward to it. At the very least she had expected him to show up.
She looked at the crowd gathered on the far side of the customs barrier. Some of them seemed quite excited, waving and cheering as they spotted their friends. None of their faces looked familiar. Ginny wondered, with mixed hope and dismay, whether she had merely forgotten what he looked like.
As the crowd began to thin, she noticed several people holding signs, a few of them crudely hand-lettered. One said VICTORIA TOURS and was held at chest height by a bored-looking man who gazed vacantly into the middle distance. Off to the left she spotted another man, with dark, bushy hair and protuberant eyes magnified by thick, rimless glasses. He was looking straight at her in a curious, froglike way. He was holding a sign too, and it had her name on it.
She headed in his direction, trailing her little black suitcase. "I'm Virginia Dorris," she said.
The young man smiled and took her bag, introduced himself as Roger, and explained that he had been sent to pick her up by someone named Maurice. This worried Ginny because she had no idea who that was.
"I was supposed to meet mydad," she said.
Roger continued smiling; it seemed to be his one expression. "Your dad couldn't get away," he said. "Maurice said he'd take you out there. This way!" Confident that she would follow, he strode off toward the exit. After all, he had her suitcase.
"But I don't know him -- Maurice," Ginny insisted, trotting alongside Roger as he briskly wove his way through gaps in the crowd, expertly steering around cartloads of luggage.
"Dr. Everett," he called over his shoulder. "Maurice Everett." When Ginny still showed no sign of understanding, he added, "Head of the department -- you know? -- your dad's boss."
"Oh," said Ginny. She had never heard his name before. That would be the man who had designed the Iron Age project from which her father "couldn't get away."
"I'm just going to be there for a little while," she said.
Back home in Houston her mother would be asleep. Ginny pictured her curled up under her beautiful Nantucket quilt, with its soft fabric and faded colors.
Then she realized with a pang that her mom might not be at home, after all, but at the hospital. Was the surgery today or would it be tomorrow? Why hadn't she gotten all that straight? There had been so much to take in all at once.
Over the span of a mere two days Ginny's normal, routine life had been brought to a screeching halt, and she had been packed off to her father in England. For at least half that time her mother had been on the phone.
Ginny had felt the storm brewing even before it struck. She could tell by the flat expression on her mother's face, by the tone of her voice -- strained, half-whispering -- as she talked on the telephone. "Can I call you back on this?" she had said. "I really have to make some arrangements." When Ginny asked what was going on, Rena had said, "I'll tell you about it later," and started dialing again.
Ginny woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of her mother's voice, still talking on the telephone. Checking her bedside clock, Ginny saw it was three-fifteen. She padded down the hall, stood outside her mother's door, and listened. "Yes, that's right," her mother was saying, her voice sounding almost frantic. "Rena Dorris. Calling from the U.S. Yes, I absolutely do have to talk to him today." There was a pause, then, "I understand, and I very much appreciate your going to the trouble, but it really can't wait." Ginny went into her mother's room and sat on the bed, pulling the quilt up over her legs.
When Rena finally hung up, she scooted over beside Ginny and took her daughter's hands, stroking and massaging them as she focused her thoughts. "I'm not ignoring you," she said finally, "though I know you think I am. I just wanted to get things worked out before explaining it all."
"I want to hear it now," Ginny said.
Maurice Everett's office was on the ground floor of an old building. The windows were open, and the soft drone of a distant lawn mower floated in on the air. Papers on the low bookcase under the window rustled in the breeze.
Dr. Everett was a large, sleek man, his rosy cheeks shiny, his salt-and-pepper beard as fine as silk. Ginny wondered if he blow-dried it.
"Ah, Virginia!" He greeted her heartily, leaning back in his chair and smiling. "Thank you, Roger."
"No problem," Roger said. Then: "I have the clothes in my office. Do you want them now?"
"Yes, please," Dr. Everett said. Roger ducked out.
"There's a ladies' just down the hall, so you can change in there," he told Ginny. "Then we we'll be on our way. You can leave your things here."
"Can't I just wear what I have on?" Ginny asked.
Dr. Everett's laugh told her she had asked a stupid question. "No," he said. "I assure you -- Iron Age people did not wear clothes like that."
Roger returned with a pile of homespun garments draped over his arm. He showed them to her piece by piece...A Time Apart. Copyright © by Diane Stanley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted July 11, 2008
Reality TV show fans will enjoy this. Wow so many elements of this book were fantastic- the touching scenes, the deep thinking, the description, the tidbits about iron age life, and Ginny's resourcefulness. This is a really unique book. I had heard about the iron age project awhile ago, so I was very excited to read this book. It went beyond my expectations. This book was quickly moving, but at the same time, emotionally moving. The end scene with Ginny and her father stayed with me. A Time Apart really puts modern technology into perspective and shows that it has little to do with happiness. It was amazing how in the book, the Iron Age Project inhabitants were unscathed during the snow storm. They simply stayed in their roundhouses by the fire and told stories. But the modern day people could not continue their normal routinue without their ovens and electricity. This is much better than most time travel books, because it is very realistic, yet still interesting to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2005
This book was okay, but there's something about the style of writing that is annoying. It almost sounds as if the author is trying to make her writing have everything that a good book needs, and doesnt let it flow into the plot naturally, although I think that most people don't understand what I'm saying.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2003
Posted November 10, 2001
A Time Apart is a wonderful book about a 13-year-old girl named Ginny who has to adjust living Iron-Age-style with a dad she's never known and her mother across the world with cancer. I really like the way this author expresses Ginny's feelings, and I enjoy sharing the times she has with the new friends she makes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 16, 2001
A Time Apart is a great book. When Ginny's mother (Rena) learns that she has cancer, Ginny is shipped off to England to live with her father (Hugh). All that Ginny knows is that her father is taking part in a project that will hopefully discover things about the period in time called the Iron Age. What she doesn't know is that she, too, will participate in the project. Ginny is not pleased with the situation in which she will have take part in the community that is created to duplicate a village in the Iron Age. Soon she learns to enjoy the experience, and makes many friends (including Corey and Daisy) and memories there. Ginny even gets to know the father who had been absent from most of her life. This is an excellent book which I can almost 100 percent guarantee you will enjoy. I assure you that this book won't disappoint!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 21, 2000
This is a book I would recommend. Based in modern times, Ginny's mother is faced with cancer. Now Ginny must go to an archealogical site where her father is working. It is set in Iron Age times. They have to do things like they did back then. When Ginny sets on her journey home, it becomes very suspensful. I think that this is a great book that you should read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2011
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