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The Time Travelers: Volume One    by Caroline B. Cooney order for
Time Travelers
by Caroline B. Cooney
Order:  USA  Can
Laurel Leaf, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

During summer break, Anna Sophia (Annie) Lockwood is determined to convert Sean into a romantic. Sean's occupying interest is old car maintenance and repair, and his most-used words to Annie are 'pass me the wrench'. Sean's family lives in Stratton Mansion, a century-old house converted to apartments. It faces demolition, a prospect which Annie does not relish. She loves the huge, brown, shingled, old dwelling, with its bathhouse, walled gardens, and six-hundred acres of Stratton Point, now a town park.

When Annie disappears, her family, friends, and townspeople search frantically for her, while Sean finally takes notice of how much he cares for her. When she reappears, Annie breaks off their relationship, to everyone's consternation. It turns out that Annie's disappearances involve time-travel to 1895 from Stratton Mansion. After a falling sensation, Annie finds herself in the presence of Hiram Stratton, Jr.. Entranced, Annie and Strat walk and talk, as she explains that 'I've fallen through time. I'm from a hundred years later, Strat.' Harriett Ranleigh's heart aches for her childhood friend Strat, as she watches him fall in love with the stranger. Strat's sister Devonny, the strict and controlling Hiram, Sr., and his fourth wife Florinda, all wonder where Anna Sophia came from, and why she's dressed in such unsuitable clothing.

Irish Bridget Shanrahan, who works in the Stratton household, is accused of the murder of fellow servant Matthew, arrested and jailed. Some family members believe adamantly in Bridget's innocence, and that her accuser lied when he claimed to have witnessed the crime. Walker Walkley, who 'likes the finer things in life', befriends Strat. Walk sets his sights on marrying Devonny, and spending the Stratton wealth. During one of Annie's returns to the 20th century, Harriett becomes engaged to Strat, but is confined to a care facility for consumption. Strat is committed to an asylum in Albany (Walker uses his time travel essays to convince Hiram, Sr. of his son's madness). He moves into the Stratton home and pursues Devonny, who is not fooled by Walk's maneuvers.

Caroline B. Cooney turns the minutest detail into poetry, 'Snow had fallen again ... the air full, as if snow lived there, defying gravity ... Christmas trees waiting for candles and ribbons and sparkling glass orbs.' Anna, who loves everything about the 19th century, except for women's roles, strengthens three women in the Stratton household - Harriett, Devonny, and Florinda. The story of Strat and Annie is poignant, heart-grabbing, and courageous as Annie goes back to help her love and his family. Annie knows, 'I am a century changer ... I have visited both 'sides of time'. People think they own time. They have watches and clocks and digital pulses. But they are wrong. 'Time' owns them. I am the property of Time'.

Cooney's The Time Travelers: Both Sides of Time and Out of Time were originally published separately in 1995 and 1996. Cooney continues the story of Annie and Strat in Volume II: Prisoner of Time and For All Time. Of herself Cooney has said, 'What more can life hold, than to know that because of your story, somebody out there has decided to read again!' Her tales are spellbinding and suspenseful, with thought-provoking implications, not only about time travel, but also about women's status, and contrasting ways of life in two centuries.

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