Time at the Top, by Edward Ormondroyd, for Timeslip Tuesday

Last week I had a lovely visit with my friend Anamaria, of Books Together. It is such a pleasure to chat books and blogs non-stop for several hours with a like-minded reader--our tastes are remarkably similar. And as an added bonus, she sent me home with several time travel books! One of these was Time at the Top, by Edward Ormondroyd (1963, but reprinted in 2003--that's the cover shown at left. The cover of the copy that Anamaria lent me, from the mid-70s, isn't available on line, which is perhaps a good thing...).

One wet March day, the sort of day when everything goes wrong, Susan Shaw comes to the aid of a strange old lady fumbling and dropping her bags in street. By way of thanks, the old lady says, "I'll give you three." Not unnaturally, Susan thinks wishes, but it's something even stranger. And then Susan steps into her apartment building's elevator, and disappears without a trace--the first of three such trips.

The next day a note from Susan is discovered on a scrap of newspaper, reassuring her widowed father that all is well. And two days later, she herself reappears, wearing clothes from eighty years ago, and tells her incredulous father her impossible.

The elevator took her back to 1881, to the home that had once stood in the spot now occupied by apartments. There she met Victoria and Bobby Walker, and their beautiful widowed mother. To Victoria, Susan is clearly the answer to her own wish--that some help would come to foil the designs of the nasty man courting her mother. And so a plot is hatched, one that will require all of Susan's acting skills to carry off.

But when Susan comes home to tell her story to her father, she still has a third trip on the elevator back to the past waiting for her...and the pull of the past, and the Walker family and their lovely home in the country, is strong....and maybe it's time her father married again.

It's a lovely light excursion of a book, one that I enjoyed as an adult, but would have loved to pieces as a child. Susan's time in the past with the Walker children is full of small details, and the difficulties to be faced, and their solution, make for pleasant reading.

Ormandroyd adds interest to the story by framing it from his own point of view as another tenant in the apartment building, watching events unfold as Susan disappears and then returns--it makes it more real, somehow, to have his outsider perspective, and it doesn't intrude on the nice uninterrupted narrative of Susan's own story. But it might make the beginning difficult for the young reader, by making it seem adultish, and it does mean the book is slow to really get going on Susan's own story.

I just saw on Amazon that there is a sequel--All In Good Time--I want it! Time at the Top ends neatly, but with tons of story left untold, and All in Good Time, published 12 years later, fills in that missing space.

(Oh the wonder of computerized library catalogues! I have just requested All in Good Time, and might even have it read in time for next Timeslip Tuesday....)

I just found that both these books are being reissued as a single volume from Purple House Press this very fall!!! I like the cover:


  1. Oh. My. Gosh.
    I read this book when I was a kid. Time travel was a topic of which my mother DEFINITELY would have disapproved, and so I snuck it and read it in the library, without ever checking it out.

    I ADORED this book, I had to squee and do a little happy dance that there's a sequel. I'll have you know that I WROTE a sequel to this when I was a kid. I always wondered what happened to their house in the present, and what happened when their descendants reached the future...

    ::happy sigh::

  2. Oh I'm so happy to have reminded you of it, and to have brought the good news that there's a sequel!

    Although yours, if it goes into the present, might be different from the actual one...maybe you should revisit it!

  3. Always meant to read Ormondroyd ('cause of his cool name, for starters) - now I most definitely will!

  4. Is this a Joe and Beth Krush cover, or just a look alike? and did you know there's apparently a movie version with Timothy Busfield? I will look for the collection. i know I would love to reD it!

  5. Nope. Charles Geer cover. Purple House Press also reissued the Brinley Mad Scientists Club books, which I may need to reread.

  6. It was indeed a lovely visit! And I cannot wait for the Purple House Press double issue, never having read the sequel myself. I did love Time and the Top, though--despite the awful 70s cover. One thing I do remember about that cover is that the artist had at least read the book: all the details are right!

    And Tanita, I love that you wrote a sequel.

  7. The only other Omendroyd (I agree--it's an excellent name!) I've ever read was David and the Phoenix, a pleasant book also republished by Purple House.

    I've never heard of the Mad Scientist club, but it looks like something my picky one would like.

    And thanks so much for lending this one to me, Anamaria!

  8. How brilliant that they're reissuing the books both together! That's going to be a present for someone in my family this Christmas. :) I loved this book so much as a kid, and it has held up into adulthood. In fact I just reread both books! They are the best.

  9. Shoot, I'm cross now that I missed this one as a kid!

  10. Time at the Top and the sequel (which I read some years apart) are favorites of mine. Glad you enjoyed! If ILL doesn't come through, you can borrow the sequel from me. I also have The Mad Scientists Club, which I didn't think I would enjoy as a child but recently picked up for my nephews.

  11. This sounds awesome! We're doing a Time Travel themed Winter Reading program at my library and I'm definitely going to add these to my list.

  12. It's waiting at the library for me even as I type, CLM, but thanks so much for the offer!

    And what a fun theme, Mrs Tiye! (although I am of course biased in favor of time travel books....). I hope my list of all the time travel books I've reviewed (up at the top of the blg) is helpful!

  13. Hey everyone! Thanks for all the nice comments about these two books!! I adore time travel novels, especially both of these books and I'm so happy we can offer them together. We're expecting books in by late Sept, and it turned out to have 379 pages :)

  14. These sound great! I hadn't heard of them, but it sounds like something I'll enjoy for sure. thanks!


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