On her birthday in 1846, Abigail Porterhouse Bentley's widely traveled uncle gives her a doll that is actually a powerful talisman; in 1995, Emma Gibson is bemoaning the loss of her best friend as she prepares to move to Texas. Through the magic of the doll, the two girls' lives tangle--Abigail is transported to Emma's time, then both return to 1846. Neither girl makes friends easily, but acting compassionately toward the other proves to be the key by which each is eventually returned to her own time. This slight--and slightly didactic--story is enlivened by its details--e.g., Abigail, who is fascinated by Emma's flush toilet, is described in an afterword biography as the founder of a plumbing empire. A mildly diverting introduction to time travel by an experienced author of high fantasy.