A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The men in 1895 constantly belittle women, viewing them as property. Those circumstances appall the main character.
Violence & Scariness
A minor character murders a servant, and tries to throw a lady out of a window, but is shot in the arm.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several references to something that happens in beds after marriage. The main character knows her father is having an affair.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite the potboiler story, readers will get a realistic sense of the difficulties women faced in the 19th century, along with interesting contrasts between modern and Victorian spoken English.
Is It Any Good?
This time-travel romance, the first in a series, both entertains and teaches, though it recycles the hackneyed plots and conventions of the potboiler romance. The story is practically lifted from the gothic romances of an earlier era, complete with murder and Irish maids speaking brogue, which destroys any literary pretensions for the book. Caroline Cooney writes authentic teen dialogue, and juxtaposes Annie's modern speech with Strat's proper Victorian English in an almost comic fashion.
But the way in which Cooney depicts the restrictions on women gives the book some value beyond pulp entertainment. Few teenagers realize how far women have come in 100 years. In BOTH SIDES OF TIME upper-class women have no control over their lives -- they are imprisoned in corsets, gasping for breath, fainting frequently, and obeying men in all things. Though somewhat overstated, the cultural history here will open readers' eyes.
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