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Time Windows (1991)

by Kathryn Reiss

Series: Time Windows (1)

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249382,717 (3.73)8
Thirteen-year-old Miranda moves with her family to a small Massachusetts town and a new house in which a mysterious dollhouse allows her to see into the past, where she discovers her new home exerts an evil influence on the women of each generation of inhabitants--including Miranda's mother.
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  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Miranda and her parents move from New York City to a small town in Massachusetts. Miranda is a little sad to leave behind her old life, but is excited all the same. The house is immense and improbably in good shape after 50 years of vacancy - this isn't a plot point, I just know how much damage one unheated winter can do to a house, especially one as early as the Galloway House. Resilient haunted houses are a staple of the genre however, so I shouldn't complain.

The house has a history. A clause in a former owner's will prevented it from being sold for decades, but it belonged to a founding family of the town and played a part in the underground railroad. Miranda discovers a piece of that history in the attic, a dollhouse built as a replica by a former slave who took shelter in the house.

By accident Miranada discovers she can see into the past of her house through the dollhouse windows. Specifically into the lives of two former families: the last Galloways to live there, n 1904, and a young couple and their two boys in the 1940s. She is drawn into the history of the house, spending most of her time in the attic and causing concern in her parents and from her best friend when she visits from New York.

'Time Windows' has a great atmosphere, Miranada's shock at her unreasonable fear when she first climbs into the attic, the scent of magnolias, and when she notices her mother acting out scenes that had been said in her house before, repeating whole conversations from a hundred years ago.

There were some aspects of the time-travel narrative that didn't make sense to me, a few lost opportunities, but all in all a solid middle grade ghost story. I'd read this many times growing up and was glad to have the opportunity to read it again. I had never picked up on how awkward Miranda's relationship was with the boy across the street. Almost immediately he starts hitting on her and throughout he's all "hey baby, what's wrong?" and complimenting her legs when he should be more concerned about the horror of the situation. Boys, though, am I right? I'm going to do my best to sell this to a new generation of readers, but something needs to be done about the tone-deaf cover design I'm seeing on titles reissued in the past decade. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
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Epigraph
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions.
- T.S. EliotFrom "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
Dedication
For Dorothy Molnar, my mother,Edmund Reiss, my fatherand Tom Strychacz, my husbandThree who have long sustained me with support, encouragement and love
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Ever after, on muggy, magnolia-scented days, Miranda would stop whatever she was doing and stand silent for a minute or two.
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Thirteen-year-old Miranda moves with her family to a small Massachusetts town and a new house in which a mysterious dollhouse allows her to see into the past, where she discovers her new home exerts an evil influence on the women of each generation of inhabitants--including Miranda's mother.

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