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The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder Paperback – August 29, 2011
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About the Author
Marlene Dotterer grew up as a desert rat in Tucson, Arizona. In 1990, she loaded her five children into the family station wagon, and drove north-west to the foggy San Francisco Bay Area. To stay warm, she tackled many enterprises, earning a degree in geology, working for a national laboratory, and running her own business as a personal chef. She’s a frustrated gardener, loves to cook, and teaches natural childbirth classes. She says she writes, “to silence the voices,” obsessed with the possibilities of other worlds and other times. She is married to The Best Husband in the World, and lives in Pleasant Hill, California. Her website is www.marlenedotterer.wordpress.com.
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Top customer reviews
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What really kept the interest for me was that Dotterer did not stick to an “I know everything, so I can change it!” sort of formula. The opposition to making changes was very credible, as was the caution the time travelers took to protect themselves from the dangers of an earlier century. Moreover, it was not just a tale about science and developing futuristic technology, but about the customs and culture of 1906 Ireland. She even worked in the religious feud, the differences in class and gender perceptions, and botanical gardening.
The writing is really excellent, and the characters were believable and interesting. Overall, a fantastic job. I look forward to reading the sequel, “The Time Travel Journals: Bridgebuilders”.
At the same time, they try to adjust to life 100 years before their time period, coping with Victorian values, religious antagonisms, and sexism.
The author has researched shipbuilding at the turn-of-the-century extremely well, but these details do not overburden the reader, as she also makes us care deeply about the main characters, their fate, and the fate of the passengers on board the ill-fated ship.
This is one of the better time-travel novels that I have read! I look forward to the sequel, Bridgebuilders.
In this book a young woman and an older physicist time-travel researcher are accidentally swept back in time to the days leading up to the building of the Titanic and her sister ships in Dublin. The young woman is an American college student in modern day Ireland, but with no way home again, she and her companion try to make a new start in the past. She pretends to be a boy so as to find work, passing as a young lad with her hair cut short and wearing what we would consider everyday sort of clothes for a woman, but in that time no woman dressed like this, so she pulled off the deception. Thus she meets the Shipbuilder of the title.
Enough spoilers in this review but one more is that she does begin a romantic entanglement with said Shipbuilder, who was not at all inclined to romance young boys may I add; the deception of her gender did not last forever.
We see the Titanic built, and sail, yet this time travel novel takes the premise of alternate reality/parallel worlds in which changes to the past timeline are not the problem that other theories of time travel would find them. Alas, not all desired changes to the timeline come to pass, but this book has a happy ending which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I loved the characters, the history (albeit fictionalized), and the romance as well. The story was tight, I found nothing to jar my senses as I read, and the editing was superb.
Highly recommended if you like Time Travel stories, Historical Romances, or have an interest in the Titanic.
In this novel, Ms. Dotterer creates a storyline that uses as its pinnacle one of the most famous incidents in history--the sinking of the RMS Titanic. In fact, the story builds itself up to this event with nice suspense. But if you're thinking, I've already seen the movie, know that this book really isn't about that. It's about people, society, and the choices we make.
Set in Belfast, Ireland, our two main characters are an odd couple: an aging male scientist and a young female college student. Quite inadvertently, the two find themselves suddenly picked up and placed backward in time one hundred years.
This work deals with a dilemma of time-travel that story tellers have tinkered with for ages. The quandary and question to unravel is, what would happen if one were to go back in time with full knowledge of certain events that were to occur, but then attempt to make changes? And this raises more questions. How would one's presence in and of itself affect a timeline that has already happened? Does it create more parallel timelines? This subject has been played out in many ways in movies and books but often with the theme of characters scheming to get rich. For example, if one could go back, one could commit robberies where it was known money or gold would be. One could make a fortune making predictions. The list goes on.
But Ms. Dotterer goes about it differently. The main character attempts to make changes motivated first and foremost by love. As soon as we are thrust back in time, things move very quickly as our characters struggle first just to survive, then later to adjust and fit in. Without spoiling it for the potential reader, one of our characters falls in a love with a well-known figure of that day and time. Unfortunately, this person is doomed to perish with the Titanic. But even with this foreknowledge, the two move forward into marriage and starting a family. One result of this is that many elements of a romance novel come to the surface and are woven into the narrative. The other character, who acts often as a voice of reason in various situations, is motivated by the desire to improve the world and help people.
As the story moves along, we're given many lessons in history and it's apparent that Ms. Dotterer has done her research. What makes this book particularly interesting is how real history is combined with fictitious events and decisions as a result of interjected future knowledge. It really does make a person think.
There is one caveat though. This work is also a social statement against the more rigid societal standards of early nineteenth century Ireland, particularly in terms of religion and certain communal issues. One of our main characters is openly atheist, a standing that is almost criminal in this society at this time. While most readers of a God-fearing nature would probably not be offended, you'll notice the Hollywood-like stereotype of a particularly repugnant character who represents religious fanaticism. This character is not only scheming, manipulative and cruel, he's also a bit of a pervert, not to mention a blatant law-breaker. It's unfortunate that characters who represent conservative religious thinking are often portrayed this way.
Some readers may also find it regrettable that little positive credit is given to the moral compass and good standards that religion provides to early twentieth century Ireland, or any given culture. Statistically, after all, it has been the secular movements that have killed countless more people and have done more damage. It focuses only on the negative, and in those days and for many years to come, there was a lot of negative events surrounding religious differences. Proof positive that even with an attempt at maintaining firm standards of behavior, man's wicked nature comes through. The fight against sexism and for equal privileges--another significant element to this story--is far more understandable.
But the work is balanced. Our atheist and socially liberal main character is eventually accepted and loved by a family she marries into who, while religious in nature, are in no way fanatical. As a whole, they are good people with every good intention. Also, there are other nefarious characters in this story that plot evil, but without any religious motivation guiding them. Our other main character is neither religious nor anti-religion, and may even be agnostic.
All in all, The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder is an enjoyable read with a lot of interesting ideas to ponder. It will definitely get the mind going on the What if? questions. Even if you're not a history buff, I think you'll enjoy this work. It may even get you thinking about the choices you're making now, and how those choices could affect many generations to come.