Title: Ruby Red
Series: Edelstein Trilogy, #1
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 5/5
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Comfortably paced with prose that flows naturally, I certainly did not want this book to end. When Gwyneth turns out to be the one carrying the time-travel gene, her aunt Glenda and cousin Charlotte is jealous, her mother is worried, and several other people are quite pleased. Apart from being able to see ghosts, Gwyneth's life had been perfectly normal. This is about to change drastically, but fortunately, she has her friend, Lesley, who believes her and fully supports her.
As time travel is one of my very favorite topics for a book, I couldn't put Ruby Red down. The brilliantly realistic characters immediately captivated me. Despite her weird family and the fact that her cousin, Charlotte, is believed to have inherited the time-travel gene, Gwyneth is just a normal school girl. Imagine her astonishment when she unexpectedly plunges from her time to another time with vintage cars and people who are rude when she asks them what year it is. Totally unprepared for all this, she only has the snooty, rather hostile Gideon to assist her through the first few jumps back in time.
Gwyneth is rather stoic about all these new developments but when she has to kill somebody in the eighteenth century, she freaks out. I really didn't like Gideon at first but he redeems himself a bit during the course of the book. At the end of the book I still have no idea who of the guardians to trust; Falk De Villiers with his strange eyes, or the unfriendly doctor White. There is also no clear line between good guys or bad in this story thus keeping the reader guessing and making sure that we'll move onto the next book in the series to find out.
The author splendidly keeps all the characters realistic in their own period. I laughed out loud when Gwyneth wondered whether the eighteenth century character, Rakoczy from Transylvania, could perhaps be Dracula.
Full of excitement, intrigue, a couple of hilarious scenes and even a touch of romance, Ruby Red is a thrilling read that I gladly recommend to readers of all ages.
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