( This is a great YA BOOK)
Promises to young children should never be broken and Merrideth learns once more the true meaning of loyalty, friendship and love as we revisit Miles Station and learn more about the computer program that brought her closer to her tutor, Abby in Time and Again by author Deborah Heal. As Merri is feeling left out when Abby begins dating John Roberts little does she expect to be invited on their date to lunch and to explore the town of Alton. As the story opens we meet both Abby and Merri and they discuss their relationship, John arrives and the three leave for a leisurely lunch that does not turn out as Abby would have liked or expected. But, when Merri is excited that her father is going to join her for lunch and Abby agrees to take her to the restaurant. Resilient to a point yet almost 12 years old, Merri is once again let down by her so-called father. A short text message stating he could not make it is all she receives but when John shows up with a friend they forge ahead to try and convince him that the program on her computer can take them back in time and his skepticism unfounded if his friend can fix it hoping to learn more about Charlotte from Miles Station. The program Beautiful Home invites the visitor to take a virtual tour of the old homes and go back in time to visit and get to know the residents who lived there and experience some of the events of events in their lives. Did someone infect the program with a virus, was caused by the storm or just a simple malfunction? But, John is not sure if this program really exists and his friend offers to fix it but cannot. Just how will they reconnect with Charlotte and what happens you will have to read by review of Unclaimed Legacy to find out. But, another idea comes about and Michael reenters the story and we meet Lucy who is a speech therapist who is willing to help Michael overcome his speech problems and work with him with her special dog Dr. Bob. But, having to leave for a lecture she enlists, John, Abby and Merri to take over some of the duties needed in her house and that is where the real story is about to begin as we meet Eulah and Beulah Edwards two twins whose story will definitely intrigue the reader. The computer program to learn more about Charlotte might be gone but what happens when they bring the laptop to Lucy’s house and fire it up you won’t believe. The program might not work in Merri’s house but it renews itself in Lucy’s and the house on the screen is the one they are staying in or Lucy’s house and the people they see are the Old Dears or the twins in the 40’s and we learn more about their lives, the time period and an ancestor that was quite colorful to say the least. Added to that these two women are quite strange, eccentric and what they cook or bake is definitely not what you or anyone should eat. Staying overnight in Lucy’s house would not only ignite the program for Beautiful House but it would reveal more about the residences and its history. Time travel even if virtual can really be exciting, educational and a great way to keep Merri on the right path. Added in is the fact that she is quite intelligent, wants to be accepted, is trying to lose weight, definitely looks better and her attitude about school and learning has improved thanks to Abby.
The program cannot be fixed but the end result will definitely surprise the reader as Abby, John and Merri refuse to give up on their quest to help the Old Dears and what happens when they bring the laptop to Lucy’s house is totally amazing. In order to help the Old Dears with their family tree they need to do some research and going to the library, the Lewis and Clark Museum and going through many books helps them uncover some of the names of the relatives on the tree but not all. But, with one click of the wrist the program comes back to life and what they see will definitely give them more than just pause for thought. This program works and displays the house that the resident is in at that time. Whatever house they are researching and if you are in it the program will work and help you uncover what you want to know. But, will it help them to learn everything? What about what happened to Charlotte? Let’s go back in time and take this second trip with them and find out what they learn about Eulah and Beulah and a secret that Beulah does not ever want revealed. Entering the home of the two sisters we see Beulah sitting at the piano that belongs to her sister playing my favorite piece Fur Elise. Eulah inherited the piano and the Yellow House too where this part of our story in virtual reality time takes place. Although the sisters are close one had no trouble finding a husband and the other did not. When Carl, Eulah’s husband returns from War and enters the Yellow House he thinks he is greeting his wife. You have to read and picture what happens. Is it mistaken identity or just one sister wanting what the other one has even if it is just for a little while? As they learn more about their family tree they uncover someone named Priscilla but their visit is cut short since she is quite ill. Finding a Bible they learn about Frances Edwards their grandmother and then the story really heats up. Delving further they learn the true history of where they live and the fact that they are related to the first governor but there is much more. Bertram White and he was anything but wonderful to her as they witness an incident that if they could have stopped it he might have wound up anywhere but where he was. The author brings to light that spousal abuse is not something just relevant to the 21st century. We learn more about a man named Reuben Buchanan and his relationship to the sisters and to Frances. What they learn will cause them to look further as an article in the paper relates that he was arrested and tried for murder and arson. His young son was brought up by his grandparents and the family tree is still lopsided unless they can learn more about Reuben and find out if he really did commit the crime of killing Bertram White’s wife or did he?
What they learn and uncover about the fire will definitely spark more than just interest as they learn about how Franny tried to help Mrs. White learn about the Bible and understand its true meaning. But, her husband had other ideas and then the fire broke out and she was killed. But, was Reuben really there? How can they clear his name after so many years? Added in is Merri’s dad is arrested at lunch and she learns why her mother took her away and much more. But, when Abby actually learns the truth and what happened she falls apart.
The history behind the Lewis and Clark expedition is added; Merri’s essay is completed but the link between the sisters and the Buchanan’s you have to read for yourself. The end result and whether they clear Ruben you won’t get from me. Some research you have to do on your own to learn just how exciting one computer program can be, the knowledge you can impart to kids, adults and just how interesting it can be to create a family tree. One ending you won’t expect and a family that just might surprise you.
Fran Lewis: reviewer