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Bid Time Return Hardcover – June 1, 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Bid Time Return is a stunningly romantic novel of love and passion that literally transcends time, by an author far better known for his tales of science fiction and horror. Richard Matheson's premise is captivating: What if you were a dying young man, visiting a turn-of-the-century resort hotel? And what if you fell in love with a painting of a beautiful stage actress--but she had lived and died a century before? But--what if your love was so strong that you could literally will yourself back in time to become part of her world? In the tradition of the classic romantic ghost story "Portrait of Jennie," Matheson makes his two lovers totally believable, and so the undeniably fantastic premise soon becomes completely acceptable. The author would later write another unique love story--of love after death--called What Dreams May Come, that is somewhat less bittersweet. (Bid Time Return was later filmed as Somewhere in Time, and some editions are issued under that title.) --Stanley Wiater

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Buccaneer Books (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899665144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899665146
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I first read the paperback version of "Bid Time Return" in the mid to late 70's when I was sick in bed with a fever, which may have affected my delusion that this was an actual biography - not a novel. Mr. Matheson had me completely enthralled, and wanting to believe that this story had really happened. Disappointed to learn that this was merely fiction, my next goal was to perpetuate this wonderful dream by actually visiting Hotel Del Coronado, which I did - several times. Being there only added to the wonderful atmosphere established by the book. I was thrilled when I learned that it would be made into a movie, but disappointed when I actually saw it. The main problem was that it was set in Michigan, not Coronado Island. And though the hotel was beautiful, it was just not the same. After all, Hotel del Coronado was obviously well loved and researched by Mr. Matheson and was perhaps a distant third in importance after the two main characters, Richard and Elise. Also the movie was set roughly 10 years after the novel's time period. I did love the musical score, but felt Mahler's compositions should have been included, as detailed in the book. After this book, I wanted to learn all I could about Richard Matheson, and later bought "What Dreams May Come", and liked it too, but nothing could match "Bid Time Return". I never read "The Shrinking Man", but understand that in this case the movie did live up to the book. (I remember seeing that and being deeply impressed by it back in the '50's when I was a teenager.) While searching the internet, I see there are many fans of "Somewhere in Time" and can't help but wonder how many of them read the original book.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
It's 1971, and 36 year-old Richard Collier, dying of a brain tumor, decides to spend his final days traveling the country. On the flip of a coin, he travels toward San Diego, and happens upon an old hotel. There he finds the captivating photograph of a young actress, Elise McKenna, who performed at the hotel in 1896. "... the most gloriously lovely face I have ever seen in my life. I've fallen in love with her." He decides to research everything he can about her, and the more he learns, the more deeply he falls in love with her, and the more deeply convinced he is that; he has been to her time, and that he has had a relationship with her. The 1980 movie, Somewhere In Time, starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, was based upon this 1975 novel by Richard Matheson. Though the dates and locations have been changed in the screenplay, also written by Matheson, the movie pretty much follows the book. The novel's pulls on the heartstrings, however, is even more intense, and the ending to the novel is much more tragic. For those who like romantic tragedy, this could possibly be the greatest ever written.
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Format: Hardcover
Time travel is possible. You too will think that after reading this book. Matheson does an excellent job of making you believe that you are indeed back in 1896. Just as the author portrays character Richard Collier as a man in love with a picture, and obcessed with reaching back through time to meet Elise, you too will find yourself drawn to the mystic of this story. The motion picture (Somewhere In Time) somewhat follows the plot of this book and will capture your imagination much as the picture of Elise did Richard Collier. But you have to read the book. It goes much deeper and into more detail than the motion picture. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. It's very good reading. Get the book. Read it and you will find that you, yourself, Bid Time Return to Somewhere in Time.
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Format: Hardcover
I wrote a previous review on Bid Time Return. The story really touched me, but what impacted me even more was visiting the actual site depicted as the backdrop for Matheson's book, the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California. Realizing the movie version of this fantastic story (Somewhere In Time) was filmed in a different location, I recently took the opportunity to visit the real site of the novel, Hotel Del Coronado.

If you ever get the chance to visit this location, do it! It is really something to walk the halls and gaze at what was described in the book. It really helps you identify and sense the depth of the story. There's even a gift shop there, in the lower level of the hotel called, Est. 1888. I found that they have copies of Bid Time Return and also a very interesting book too about the filming of the movie, Somewhere in Time Story.

For someone who loves the movie and wants to visit the real thing, the Hotel Del Coronado and the Est. 1888 are both an excellent place to find more of the experience of this timeless story of love.
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Format: Hardcover
Warning: spoilers below

This is a very good fantasy novel by Richard Matheson. A young man named Richard Collier is suffering from a brain tumor. He decides that he is going to go travelling and flips a penny to decide north or south. The ends up going to San Diego and stays at a historical hotel. While there, he finds a picture of a late 19th century actress named Elisa McKenna and is stunned by her beauty. Becoming obsessed with her, and falling in love with her, he researches her life and becomes convinced that he has known her before, thanks to a remarkable series of coincidences. He also deduces that this is the woman that he saw when one of his plays was being delivered, who was eyeing him from he audience and then went home and died.

Studying books on time, notably J. B. Priestly's Man and Time, he wills himself back to November, 1896 when Elisa McKenna was at the hotel. Once there, he wills himself into her life and becomes her lover. Her mother does not approve, but the real villain of the story is McKenna`s manager, Will Robinson, who tries to have Collier forcibly removed in one memorable scene. Tied up for the evening, and fearing that he has lost her, Collier descends into depression when it turns out that she has stayed overnight while the company has moved on. There starts the most moving part of this book. They make love after hours of talking and upon waking in the middle of the night, Collier decides to burn his notes of the period. He steps outside and Robinson confronts him with ideas of murder. Collier pushes him and retreats back into the bedroom. There, he discovers a lump in his 1896 suit and discovers it to be a 1971 penny. The shock is immediate and the process irreversible: he flips back into into 1971. He declines quickly and dies.
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