TIME WINDOWS by Kathryn Reiss


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When Miranda, 13, and her parents come to live in Massachusetts, Miranda finds an old dollhouse, a replica of their new home, in the attic. A more unsettling discovery: by peering through the dollhouse windows, she can observe the past, especially (according to a kitchen calendar) in 1904. Piecing together nonsequential scenes, she learns of an angry mother who's frustrated in her desire to work outside the home and whose abuse of her daughter Dorothy includes locking her in the attic. Another family, during WW II, repeats the pattern of a mother whose anger is linked to wanting a job; this woman attributes her behavior to the house itself, and the family moves. Then Miranda's mother too becomes irrationally abusive and laments her thwarted career--bizarre, since she's a successful M.D. Miranda eventually unravels a mystery that readers will have solved already: Dorothy didn't die in a train wreck but was trapped in the attic. More ingeniously, Miranda finds a way to change history: finding the attic key, she gives it to Dorothy through the dollhouse, with the result that several things change in the present--e.g., Dorothy is still alive. With numerous deftly sketched characters, including a sympathetic boy next door, an intriguing plot, and such dividends as a secret room used to hide escaping slaves, this should keep readers interested. Well wrought and entertaining.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0152023992
Page count: 260pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich