OUT OF TIME by Janet Hayward Burnham


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Two cousins—Neilly, a down-home country girl, and Jazeen, a feisty Californian—discover time-travel while visiting their grandmother for the summer.

Though essentially the same age as Neilly, Jazeen is snotty and world-weary, turning her nose up at her grandmother's eccentricities and her cousin's child-like predilections. The two are brought together in an adventure when Neilly discovers a way to travel through time by standing on a worn spot in Grandma T's kitchen. Late one night, they encounter a soldier immortalized in a local Civil War monument who seems to know a bit too much about the capture of their fourth great-grandfather, Josiah Nickerson, a Union soldier. After noticing that Neilly's foot and Grandma T's arm seem to be fading, the girls consider it their duty to go back in time and save their family by retrieving their fourth great-grandfather from a Confederate prison in Georgia, with the help of Josiah's gold watch and Winston Rawls, a sympathetic plantation owner. Burnham uses the well-worn opposites-forced-to-work-together conceit in a palatable way, eventually giving the meeker Neilly a chance to shine as she and her cousin join heads to free Josiah and send him back home to Ohio. Even the blatantly expository dialogue won’t distract from the buoyant narrative. The only glitch is the protagonists' limited imaginative scope regarding their newfound magical skills. Sure, they put them to good use while escaping one of their many would-be captors, but attentive readers may wonder why the girls don't just use their skills to transport Josiah back home instead of taking the long, painful route.

Minor stumbles aside, a pleasant and charming story.

Program: Kirkus Indie
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