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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Audiobook Review: Time and Again: Book 1 in the History Mystery Series by Deborah Heal

There are wonderful history and faith lessons woven into this interesting story.
Time and Again: Book 1 in the History Mystery Series
Written by: Deborah Heal
Narrated by: Michelle Babb
Length: 5 hrs and 12 mins
Series: History Mystery, Book 1
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:06-17-14
Publisher: Write Brain Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, Suspense
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
An old house + A new computer program = The travel opportunity of a another century.
Abby Thomas is spending the summer in a run-down old house with a bratty pre-teen named Merrideth she is supposed to tutor. Not a dream job. But it does come with perks.
There's John Roberts, a devastatingly attractive neighbor who is almost too wonderful to be real.
And there's the new computer program Beautiful Houses--also too amazing to be real. No one knows how it works, but with it she can rewind and fast-forward the lives of all the people who ever lived in the house, including Charlotte Miles.
In 1858, the house is a train stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. And Charlotte is stuck there serving meals to the passengers, wondering if she'll ever get to have any fun. And then she meets two travelers who change her life forever.
There's James McGuire with whom she falls in love. And there's his boss, a young Springfield lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. His debate with political opponent Stephen Douglas catapults him onto the national stage. And it inspires Charlotte to take up the cause of abolition.
The House
A stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. A stop on the Underground Railroad.
Watching the house's history unfold, Abby and Merrideth gain a new perspective on their own lives as time and again they see God's loving hand in the lives of its inhabitants.
©2013 Deborah Heal (P)2014 Deborah Heal

Abby Thomas is a college student using her summer to earn funds and credits towards her degree. She is tutoring an 11 year-old resentful girl, Merrideth. Merrideth is upset by her parents’ divorce especially since her mother has moved them away from her home, friends and father in Chicago. Now they live six hours away in a small town in an old house which seems dull and isolated -- at first..

Merrideth’s expensive computer keeps turning on a program called Beautiful Houses, which Merrrideth is surprised to discover includes their house when it was in new condition. As Merrideth and Abby explore the remarkable program they are immersed in the life of Charlotte Miles, whose father was the original founder of the whole community. They are fascinated by Charlotte’s life in the years leading up to the civil war. Charlotte is also resentful of her father for not allowing her to go on the train to the Alton Fair with a local boy. Instead she must stay home and serve the meal as her home is the Station Way-Stop. But one of the guests is a nice young man, James McGuire, who works for a Springfield attorney, Abraham Lincoln. There are other interesting guests too that add to the charm and history of the house.

Abby and Merrideth are able to develop a friendship while learning that God has His hand on those who seek and trust Him. There is a charming young boy as an added character as well as a local fellow, John Roberts, who is smitten by Abby. The author does a smooth transition of scenes from present to past with the interesting twist of technology. She skillfully uses difficulties and problems from Charlotte's life, with wonderful depth of historical elements, to show Abby and Merrideth lessons that apply to their emotional struggles in the current day.

I really enjoyed the history and the way the author weaves in God’s care and love in both time lines. I was sorry the story ended rather abruptly, but I recognize it leaves room for more historical adventures. This is a good book for teens, adults and history lovers. I do recommend it in text however, as I was disappointed by the narration.

Audio Notes: Sad to say, I was not impressed by Michelle Babb’s narration. There was little variation of character voice and only a few attempts to add emotional impact. I felt this was more a reading than a narration and it detracted from my enjoyment. This is an occasion when I recommend the text rather than the audiobook. However, other listener's enjoyed the narration so test a sample and decide what you think.

I received this audio through Audiobook Jukebox for an honest review. This qualifies for Audio challenge and T in Alphabet Soup. 

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