Thursday, November 21, 2019

Brainstorm 194: Time-Slip Books

Just in the past year or so I’ve become aware of the time-slip sub-genre. (Well, I didn't know it had a specific name before this year.) It’s a name for that genre of books that go back and forth in time but don’t involve time travel. Usually there’s some element to the story or a mystery that carries across the multiple time lines. The sub-genre seems to be becoming more popular, and I like that it often reveals masterful writing as an author takes disparate times, people, and even places that eventually weave together in some brilliant way to make the story one cohesive whole. If you like reading about people in all sorts of different time periods, a variety of locales, and enjoy watching authors bring things together in amazing ways, this might be your new favorite sub-genre. Or maybe it already is.

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Friedrich is a boy with a birthmark in 1930s Germany, Mike is an orphan in Pennsylvania in the 1930s, Ivy is a girl in Fresno, California in 1942 caught in the middle of racial injustices. One thing unites all of the stories, a single harmonica that moves from one person to the next and brings hope, and eventually to one owner, a saved life.

Target Readers:

  • Historical Fiction Fans, Light Fantasy Fans, Music Lovers, Human Rights Advocates, Middle Grade Fiction Readers

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins, ill. by Sophie Blackall
Readers watch as four families in 1710, 1810, 1910 and 2010 make blackberry fool. The methods of getting the ingredients, whisking the cream and cooling the treat vary over time along with the dress and location of the families, but the basic treat and enjoyment of it remain the same.

Target Readers:

  • Compare/Contrast Practicers, Foodies, History Buffs, Fans of Family Stories, Picture Book Fans

The Lost Castle (Lost Castle, #1) by Kristy Cambron
In present time, Ellie Carter is watching her last family member succumb to old age and Alzheimer's. Her beloved grandmother who raised her has become more restless of late and Ellie is trying to figure out why. During Ellie's visit, a photo is found in a book. A photo of her grandmother and a man Ellie's never seen before in front of a castle. The back of the photo says Loire Valley, France 1944. Ellie is shocked she's never heard of her grandmother being in France during WWII, let alone this man who is not her grandfather. She immediately goes to France to see if she can find answers that will give peace to her grandmother and answers to her.
Aveline Sainte-Moreau prepares to meet her fiancé, the heir to the Duc et Vivay, as the Third Estate rumbles revolutionary tides across France. Even though women aren't supposed to even know politics or economics exist, Aveline has been too interested for her own good. She hopes her future husband will appreciate her interests more than her father. But is that too much to hope for? And as a member of the Second Estate, is her family safe anywhere in France?
Viola Hart can no longer stand by idly while she watches the Nazis bomb her British home city, so she signed up with SOE and months later finds herself a fugitive in Nazi occupied France. She stumbles into the Loire Valley starving and exhausted, looking for food and accidentally meets Julian, a member of the local French Resistance.
As the stories of Aveline, Vi, and Ellie spin out and come together, one character remains central, a castle in the Loire Valley.

Target Readers:

  • Historical Fiction Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Clean Romance Fans, Christian Fiction Fans, WWII Story Fans, French Revolution Story Fans, Grandmother/Granddaughter Story Fans, French Setting Fans, Adult Fiction Readers

Refugee by Alan Gratz
Josef is a Jewish boy about to turn thirteen in 1930s Germany. When his father gets a chance to be released from a concentration camp if he'll leave the country immediately, his mother pounces on the opportunity and books the family passage on the MS St Louis bound for Cuba.
Isabel is a tween girl in 1994 Cuba. When her father is targeted after a riot, he must leave the country during the window Castro has given people to leave if they want. The entire family decides to try for Florida with their neighbors in a boat Isabel's friend Iván has made with his father.
Mahmoud is a tween boy in Aleppo, Syria in 2015. When a drone strike destroys their apartment building, his family decides this is no kind of life any more and they should go north through Turkey to Germany before they are all dead in the never-ending war.
Readers follow all three young people and their families as they risk life and limb to find a place where they can be free and safe.

Target Readers:

  • Historical Fiction Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Human Rights Advocates, Thriller Fiction Fans, Upper Middle Grade Readers (on up)

Skylark and Wallcreeper by Anne O’Brien Carelli
It's November 2012 in Queens, New York and Lily, though just 12, is helping with the evacuation of her grandmother's retirement home as Hurricane Sandy causes waves to pound in through the 1st floor of the building. Relocated to the Armory in Brooklyn, Lily convinces her mom to let her stay and help her grandmother and the other residents. During the move her Granny handed her a fancy old pen and told her to keep it safe. The pen went missing while Lily went out looking for food for the residents, and now she's trying to track it down because her Granny keeps talking about it and saying it needs to go to Marguerite. But who is Marguerite? Meanwhile, flashbacks to Brume, France in 1944 share Granny's exploits as a 12 year old girl herself during WWII. She was recruited as a messenger for the French Resistance, dubbed Wallcreeper for her bird-like climbing skills, she was joined in her dangerous assignments by another girl, Marguerite, whose codename was Skylark. The stories of three brave 12 year olds who rise to the occasion to help out their communities in times of trouble.

Target Readers:

  • Historical Fiction Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, WWII Story Fans, Disaster Survival Story Fans, Everyday Hero Fans, Mystery Fans, Grandmother/Granddaughter Story Fans, Middle Grade Fiction Readers

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes
In 2001, Annie Bliss gets a message that something has happened to her beloved great-uncle Bob. Decades ago Uncle Bob made all the difference in her life when her parents were both deployed at the same time one summer. He really helped her find who she was. So Annie rushes from Chicago to the small harbor town of Ansel-by-the-Sea in Maine to find out what is going on. She finds Bob in a medically induced coma recovering from a bad fall. While waiting for him to recover enough to come out of the coma, she tries to figure out what the deal is with all the rocks in boxes in Uncle Bob's closet and boat house. There's a man visiting the house daily proclaiming her Uncle Bob is going to be honored for his poetry at a festival (and she hasn't ever known him to write poetry, hasn't heard of his so-called famous poem, and this guy misguidedly scheduled the poetry festival for the same day as the Lobsterfest in town). And while she's in Ansel-by-the-Sea with time to kill, maybe Annie can finally figure out what drove her father and Uncle Bob to stop speaking. And as if that isn't enough mystery for one visit, she's also trying to figure out who this Jeremiah Fletch guy is who has been taking care of Uncle Bob's house and is obviously close to her great-uncle.
In 1944, twins and best friends Roy and Robert Bliss are torn apart by the war. Roy may be minutes older, but he has always felt that Robert was the heroic one ever since he saved his life in a storm. Though Roy has a wife and a baby on the way, he refuses Robert's offer to answer the draft in his place. He wants his chance to be a hero.
When storms arise and hearts break, people in every time have the choice of how to respond. Will they turn to the dark or embrace light and hope despite the heartache?

Target Readers:

  • Historical Fiction Fans, Touching Story Fans, Christian Fiction Fans, Family Story Fans, Maine Setting Fans, Mystery Fiction Fans, Clean Romance Fans, Adult Fiction Readers

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