cover image Both Sides of Time

Both Sides of Time

Caroline B. Cooney. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $10.95 (210pp) ISBN 978-0-385-32174-7

Though narrated in the stylized, spine-tingling voice that has become a Cooney trademark, this tale of time travel and romance lacks the momentum of the author's best work (The Face on the Milk Carton; Driver's Ed). While her decidedly unromantic boyfriend tinkers with a car engine, Annie wanders through the soon-to-be-demolished Stratton mansion, longing for a more gracious way of life. Suddenly she ``falls through'' 100 years-landing in 1895 just in time to witness (albeit hazily) a murder. The first person Annie meets is Hiram ``Strat'' Stratton, slated to inherit both the mansion and the family fortune if he marries his plain but sweet and devoted cousin Harriett. Annie and Strat fall head over heels in love, thus reproducing in the 19th century a triangle loosely similar to the situation created by Annie's father, who, unbeknownst to Annie's mother, is conducting an affair with a co-worker. Along with the murder, the various affairs of the heart provide fodder for almost requisite musings on the position of women then and now. Constrained by the novel's black-and-white approach, the truly intriguing social issues raised here never acquire real urgency. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)