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THE TIME OF THE GHOST by Diana Wynne Jones

THE TIME OF THE GHOST

By Diana Wynne Jones

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-688-14598-1
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

A strange and confusing book, first published in 1981 in England, about a disembodied spirit who isn't sure if she's a ghost, or even whose ghost she is. She suspects she's Sally Melford, one of four sisters whose neglectful parents run a boarding school, until she spies Sally, physically alive and well. Apparentally she's in the clutches of Monigan, an evil goddess invoked by one of the sisters, Cart, in an elaborate game of black magic gone wrong; she's actually the Sally of the future, hospitalized in critical condition, traveling back through time in an attempt to save herself and her sisters from the fate they've accidentally conjured. Freeing herself from Monigan's clutches proves to be a long and complicated process, especially for readers accustomed to and eager for Jones's usual well-braided plots and startling twists. A large cast of unpleasant characters provide fascinating moments; while Sally is relatively decent and sympathetic, her ongoing confusion about her identity diffuses her point of view. Gripping moments, yes, but on the whole disappointing. (Fiction. 10+)