“Everyone knew the coffin was empty.” Just so, the middle grade novel Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor begins with Hope Walton’s description of her mother’s funeral. It hooks my attention and draws me in with the first sentence. While I’m normally very resistant to time travel stories, almost to the point of daring the writer to make me suspend my disbelief, I soon found myself in sync with Hope. I don’t have her photographic memory, but I can relate to being a misfit in a southern town.
In a seemingly strange turn of events, Hope is summonsed to spend the summer with her aunt whom she’s never met in Scotland where things become eerie. She discovers that her homeschooling mother was not only overprotective but was a member of a secret society of time travelers. Hope must follow her into the Dim to the mysterious twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine to rescue her. (Remember, she told us the coffin was empty.)
Even in time travel there are rules. Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and return to their own time. One solution of just returning to last summer and telling her mother not to go won’t work because the rules say the Dim only opens for changes to things that happened more than ninety years ago. Then there is the rule about not interfering with the locals, but that would spoil part of the story.
Interesting companions, the historical setting, clock-watching suspense, and a touch of romance kept me engaged. And for the moment, though my mind knows that Eleanor of Aquitaine’s bones have long since turned to dust, I lost myself in the twelfth century and enjoyed watching the lady amidst the intrigues and beauty of the courts.
I read the book that goes on sale March 1 in an ARC furnished by Net Galley. The ending left an opening that hints at a sequel. If I’ve guessed right, I’ll be willing to suspend my belief again.