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A Time of Angels Paperback – October 2, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; Reprint edition (October 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786812095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786812097
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,265,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9?A warm, personal novel set in Boston during 1918. Hannah Gold, 14, and her two sisters live with their Tanta Rose while their parents are trapped in Russia because of the war. Although life is not easy, Tanta Rose provides for the girls as best she can. Rose's companion Vashti, however, feels that the girls are an intrusion. When the deadly influenza epidemic ravishes the city, Hannah's world is turned upside-down. Driven away by Vashti after Rose's death, the feverish young woman is guided to safety by a beautiful, ethereal girl (actually, an angel) who saved her life once before. She is nursed back to health on a Vermont farm by an old man whose strength and wisdom give her the courage to go back to Boston and to make peace with Vashti. Aspects of Jewish culture are nicely incorporated into the story, as are period details. However, some plot elements may cause confusion. The angel, portrayed as a guiding force instead of a fully developed character, interacts with Hannah on an almost subconscious level. Also, some of Hannah's actions do not seem realistic. Shortcomings aside, Hesse offers readers much to enjoy, analyze, and consider in this piece of historical fiction with a mystical bent.?Tracey Kroll, Brookland Middle School, Richmond, VA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 5^-8. Hannah and her sisters live in Boston with Tanta Rose and stern Vashti, awaiting their parents' return from a Europe embroiled in World War I. An influenza epidemic sweeps through the city, killing thousands including Tanta Rose. As Hannah is leaving town, she comes down with the flu and is helped by a mysterious girl with violet eyes. Hannah makes a slow recovery in Brattleboro, Vermont, cared for by an old farmer named Klaus, whose German heritage has made him suspect in the town. Hesse's meticulous re-creation of time and place (substantiated by an author's note) gets the novel off to a very slow start but lends an authentic feel to the story, despite some incidents that seem added merely for historical flavor. Her characters are also richly drawn, especially Klaus and Vashti, and there's a ring of truth to Hannah's being torn between her life in Vermont and her life in the city. Susan Dove Lempke --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
A few common euphemisms (blast, dang) occur, but no actual cursing or profanity.
Wayne S. Walker
As a future teacher I will add this to my list of historical fiction in teaching social studies and language arts.
John Sutton
Truly, Hesse's characterizations and descriptions make this book nearly magical to read.
Mrs. Darcy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Darcy on November 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was frankly shocked to read reviews that found this book boring. I've read all of Karen Hesse's works, and find this to be far and away the best. I am a fifth grade teacher, and can usually count on my 14-year-old daughter to let me take her cast-off books to supply my classroom; this was one that she won't part with, even after several years. "A Time of Angels" is high on my list of books to recommend for my higher-level readers.
The story line, taking place during the influenza pandemic of 1917-18, is grippingly realistic -- entire neighborhoods are nearly wiped out by the dreaded disease, and panic-stricken residents don't really know how to deal with the enormous problem. Meanwhile, Hannah and her two younger sisters are left in Boston with an aunt, since her mother is trapped in WWI Russia caring for relatives and her father is off fighting in the war -- and neither have been heard from.
When influenza tears Hannah's family apart, circumstances take her far away where she ends up in the care of a gruff old farmer who has been isolated from other townsfolk because of his German heritage. The relationship that forms between the two of them is sweet and tender, and Hesse crafts it beautifully.
Truly, Hesse's characterizations and descriptions make this book nearly magical to read. She weaves in bits and pieces of Jewish culture, American history, and wonderful mystical interludes with an angel who saves Hannah's life more than once.
Boring? Don't believe it. This is a book you shouldn't miss!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Sutton on April 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
I truly enjoyed this book by Karen Hesse. As a future teacher I will add this to my list of historical fiction in teaching social studies and language arts. I had no idea so many people died of the flu in 1918 - nearl two and one half times the number that died during WWI! Karen Hesse does an excellent job of placing ourselves into the life of a young Jewish girl named Hannah. She and her two sisters must live with her two aunts in a crowded Boston apartment because their father is fighting in the war, and their mother is trapped in Russia. She must eventually leave Boston alone because the flu is ravishing the city and her loved ones. She gets lost and is also stricken with the deadly flu. She is nursed back to health by a German farmer and a beautiful friendship develops. She eventually returns to Boston with the help of an angel to find the fate of her family. This is a must read book!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book A Time of Angels was definity one of the best books I have ever read. It was a beautifully written story about a girl with influenza in World War I. The characters were very realistic. They all had very intriguing personalities. I enjoyed the book's brilliant style and detail. I would recommend this book to anyone with a love for detail and excellent liturature. You will fall in love with this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
war separates Hanah from her parents in I think 1918,she moves in her aunt's crowded tenement in Boston. Hannah and her aunt struggleto protect Hannah's two young sisters,but whwn a deadly influenza epidemic strikes her family is torn apart even more.Guided by a girl with violet eyes,Hannah,who has also has come down with the dreaded flu,is driven from Boston to a caring old gentlemanin Vermont,where she remaines until sheis healthy.She is determined to reunite her family,but does she hae the strength? Awesome book.The best Hesse has written !!! :)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Abby J. Lyon on May 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book, literally, moved me to tears as I read it cover-to-cover. If you don't read it, I don't know what you're missing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
THIS IS MY FAVOURITE OF ALL OF KAREN'S BOOKS AND I WOULD RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE!!! IT MADE ME CRY FOR HANNAH'S SORROW, BUT MY SADNESS TURNED TO JOY AT THE DELIGHTFUL ENDING. A TRUE TREASURE!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book has some of everything..adventure, romance, history, emotions, and endurance. Hannah's strong faith and belief in angels is the backbone of this book. The characters are wonderful. I feel like I know them all. My Mom and I had fun quizzing each other about this book. It's great reading for all ages.
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Format: Hardcover
Karen Hesse offers a serious study of a 14-year-old girl's coming of age during desperate times. Throughout ten painful weeks we sympathize as Hannah Gold struggles with parental separation, a callous caregiver and the dreaded influenza epidemic in 1918. Living in Boston's poor district Hannah keenly feels the responsibility to protect her two younger sisters, while both parents are trapped in war torn Europe. The two female adults in their lives are loving Tanta Rose and her harsh companion, Vashti--sought out by local residents for her weeds and medicinal concoctions.

When Hannah is forced to flee the pestilential city, she boards the wrong train in feverish error--arriving semi conscious in
Brattleboro, VT. Taken to a makeshift influenza hospital she
barely survives her prolonged crisis, even losing her voice, but never her artistic will to sketch. Ultimately to be nursed by a kindly old
German man on the outskirts of town, she recuperates under his gentle care. In the country she finds herself learning many new skills, but she is constantly haunted by the fear that she has neglected her sisters, who may even have died.

How can a penniless, voiceless girl earn the train fare back to Boston, to search for the remnants of her home? Then too she realizes that her return to the city would crush the spirit of her generous host, who has offered her a new home in the country. Which lifestyle will this metropolitan girl finally choose? The title refers to the frequent instances of angelic intervention during this tenuous period in Hannah's life: an angel in the form of a "girl with violet eyes" who rescues or guides her on several occasions. Serious themes are interwoven with surrealistic incidents--are they true miracles or delirious dreams?
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