Romansgrove, by Mabel Esther Allan, for Timeslip Tuesday

Another older one for this week's Timeslip Tuesday, by an author who I thought I liked lots after the first book of hers I read (A Strange Enchantment) but who I have found less and less personally engaging with every subsequent book....sigh.  She wrote lots and lots of books, and I still look out for them in used bookstores, but they just don't stir the emotional depths of my possibly cynical and hardened heart.

In Romansgrove (1975), we get the reformation of a spoiled girl, Emily, back in the turn of the century (19th into 20th).  Her  father is the lord of an English manner who treats the servants with appalling disregard for their humanity, and she does not question this.  Then two modern siblings (1970s)  move to the country near the ruins of Romansgrove, and find themselves travelling back in time to the pre-ruined manor that was Emily's home.  Travelling with them are ideas about social justice indoctrinated in them by their father, who loathes the English caste system that made his own childhood one of brutal poverty.   But the times they are a changing, and the new lord of the Romansgrove estate, in his new(er) house, is all about breaking down class barriers, and his child is allow to play with the two modern protagonist siblings!!! 

So in any event, Emily's compressed little mind is broadened and she becomes less a spoiled brat and then the house burns down but Emily is saved because the modern kids are there and even though it should be an emotionally gripping bit of reading, it wasn't.  There was no magical thrill to it.   

Mostly the book is about two rather boring modern kids and a spoiled and kind boring century-older kid learning to agree that mistreating servants is bad. Disappointing.  It should have been good--the ruined manor house, the lonely girl, the terrible fire....but it just wasn't.  Possibly I would have liked it more if I hadn't been mentally comparing it to one my favorite timeslips--The Ghosts, by Antonia Baber (my review) which is tremendously gripping, chilling, and memorable!


  1. This sounds soooo familiar. Must have read it in middle school. I don't think my library now ever had a copy. Have you ever read Why Have the Birds Stopped Singing? Travels back in time after epileptic seizure.

    1. that one's on my list, but I've never had a copy....

  2. Thanks for the review. I think I will pass on this one, but it's good to know about.

  3. This is one of my favorite MAE's but I read it about 12 and am not sure I have reread it since, so maybe it wouldn't hold up; I agree it is not as compelling as The Ghosts.


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