The Glen Beyond the Door, by Meta Mayne Reid, for Timeslip Tuesday

A few weeks ago I joined a new Goodreads Group--"Forgotten Vintage Children's Lit We Want Republished!" and Meta Mayne Reid was one of the authors mentioned.  I'd never heard of her, and when I saw she wrote at least one time travel book, I was intrigued.  Fortunately I'd just earned an Amazon gift card with gas points (yay (?) for the high price of gas) that covered the cost of The Glen Beyond the Door (1968), and I was very excited to read it.  

Lisa's parents have just moved from Belfast to her grandfather's old home after his death.  She's recovering from polio, which has left her with a weak leg.  Soon her cousin Andrew comes to stay--his parents are off in America, and he's basically been dumped on them.  She's thrilled by the idea of having an almost brother, but Andrew is miserable.  Then, up in the attic of the house, where one wall is wood that burned in a fire centuries ago, the two kids find time travel magic.  

Together they explore the history of their family home, from the Stone Age up to the arrival of the Planters from Scotland, who took the Irish land for their own.  Each visit to the past gives them not just food for thought and wonder, but strengthening gifts--literally a stronger leg for Lisa, and a dog for Andrew, but Andrew is also helped make it through the bewildering mix of sadness and anger he's feeling.  And they are left with a tight connection to their family's home, where Planters and native Irish blended their lives together, and Andrew becomes officially welcomed into Lisa's family.

The time travel is the somewhat distant sort, in which the modern kids are mostly spectators, overlapping into kids from the past, but not changing what happened.  This made it feel more like a history lessons than part of a whole story (and I much prefer time travelers with independent volition), but it was not without interest.  Both the events of the past and the reactions of Lisa and Andrew were good (though not great) reading.  Andrew's present day emotional turmoil take center stage more forcefully than the past does, and although this too was good reading I was a little disappointed that Lisa becomes a secondary character.  

What I really liked was the layered past of this bit of Northern Ireland--there was a lovely sense of place.

So although I read it happily, and have added another of Reid's more affordable books, The McNeils at Rathcapple) to my Amazon cart, it might be a while before I use my hard won gas rewards points, Bing rewards, and Swagbucks gift cards for it.  I can actually afford to buy myself books with real grown-up money (and use this for new books), but I try not spend my wages on vintage books, because if it is too easy to buy them, I might well start buying too many.....and that way lies madness and penury.


  1. Heading over to check out that group -- although I definitely do not need incentive to spend money on vintage books! Just interested to see what's being recommended.

  2. Madness and penury indeed! I also wonder if you will be able to sell all of the books when you set up a vintage shop. It might be more difficult than you think!

    1. since I don't expect to actually make a living from it, I should be ok.....


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