A Traveller in Time

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Overview

Penelope Taberner Cameron is a solitary and a sickly child, a reader and a dreamer. Her mother, indeed, is of the opinion that the girl has grown all too attached to the products of her imagination and decides to send her away from London for a restorative dose of fresh country air. But staying at Thackers, in remote Derbyshire, Penelope is soon caught up in a new mystery, as she finds herself transported at unforeseeable intervals back and forth from modern to Elizabethan times. There she becomes part of a ...

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A Traveller in Time

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Overview

Penelope Taberner Cameron is a solitary and a sickly child, a reader and a dreamer. Her mother, indeed, is of the opinion that the girl has grown all too attached to the products of her imagination and decides to send her away from London for a restorative dose of fresh country air. But staying at Thackers, in remote Derbyshire, Penelope is soon caught up in a new mystery, as she finds herself transported at unforeseeable intervals back and forth from modern to Elizabethan times. There she becomes part of a remarkable family that is, Penelope realizes, in terrible danger as they plot to free Mary, Queen of Scot, from the prison in which Queen Elizabeth has confined her.
 Penelope knows the tragic end that awaits the Scottish queen but she can neither change the course of events nor persuade her new family of the hopelessness of their cause, which love, loyalty, and justice all compel them to embrace. Caught between present and past, Penelope is ever more torn by questions of freedom and fate. To travel in time, Penelope discovers, is to to be very much alone. And yet the slow recurrent rhythms of the natural world, beautifully captured by Alison Uttley, also speak of a greater ongoing life that transcends the passage of years. 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A superb novel about a modern girl who finds herself in Renaissance England trying to save Mary, Queen of Scots.”
- Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“A beautiful book...a form of enchanting ghost story, with the ghosts drawn in with the grace of a painter on a fan.”
-The Observer

“Mrs. Uttley writes with a delicate, richly imaginative touch, but always right at the level of a little child's understanding and interest.” -Books and Bookmen

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Alison Uttley (1884-1976) was highly educated for her day. She took a degree in physics, married, then became yet another woman widowed into authorship. She wrote prolifically, probably out of necessity, but remained a cut above, say, Enid Blyton. This early exemplar of a time travel book is a case in point. Penelope is sent for her health to Thackers, a very old family home in the country. Quietly comfortable in the ancient ways of the household, she soon finds herself wandering in and out of the house's Elizabethan past. Ah, but Thackers is no ordinary late sixteenth century establishment—rather a hotbed of Papist supporters of Mary Queen of Scots! Traveling between pre-World War II London and remote Derbyshire over a several year period, Penelope finds herself becoming part of the conspiracy: knowing its ending—the execution of Mary and her Thackers supporters—yet helpless to change the course of events. Uttley's slow, gentle unraveling of the characters and their significance makes for both a bittersweet story and an unforgettable history lesson. Kudos to the folks at the New York Review for bringing a prime Uttley back to life, on acid-free paper, too. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590173886
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 5/31/2011
  • Series: New York Review Children's Collection Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,164,561
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.58 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Uttley (1884–1976) was born Alice Jane Taylor in Derbyshire, England, into a tenant farming family that had lived on the same land for two hundred years. Uttley would return to the Derbyshire landscape and the house she grew up in, Castle Top Farm, in many of her books, including A Traveller in Time. A bright scholarship student throughout her childhood, Uttley went on to Manchester University, and in 1906 became the second female student to graduate with honors in physics from the university. Marriage and motherhood put an end to her teaching career, and it was only after her son, John, began school that she published her first book, The Squirrel, the Hare and the Little Grey Rabbit (1929). Uttley’s husband died the next year, and she began publishing books at a rapid rate in order to support herself and her son. Among her works are naturalistic novels of youth, adventure tales, and a cookbook, as well as books that grew out of her belief in enchantment, time travel, and the supernatural. By the end of her life, Uttley had written some one hundred books of fiction and nonfiction, including thirty in the Little Grey Rabbit series, and become one of twentieth-century Britain’s most popular children’s writers.

Phyllis Bray (1911–1991) was an English painter, illustrator, and muralist. She excelled at the Slade School of Fine Art and later married John Cooper, founder of the East London Group of artists, of which she was also a member. Her work is in several public collections in Britain, and through her collaborations with the well-known muralist Hans Feibusch, on display in churches and other buildings throughout the country.


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