What if Lottie hadn’t been able to escape? What if Kitty had?
I’ve started to write about this book (in my head) a few times, but this morning I realized that my response to it now is much different than it was three or four days ago. Things happen in your own life or around you, and suddenly the way you see a book has changed. How many books have I skimmed or put aside because I wasn’t in the mood for them, never returning to them for a second chance on a different day? So much about life is the luck or the curse of the day you’re in.
Lottie and Kitty are best friends, almost sisters, and their lives also turn on that luck or curse. Lottie ends up as a time traveler; Kitty is left behind to an uncertain fate. The twists and turns of time and – is it fate? – may bring them back together, but they might just as easily drift on through time alone. Lottie’s transition to the new time she’s landed in is rough, but how could we expect it to be otherwise? There are mean girls and adolescent dramas to pass through wherever you land, I suppose.
Once Was a Time successfully manages to combine historical fiction – life in England during World War II – and something much closer to the present day. Thinking about how a smart, quirky girl would make that leap is interesting – fortunately, she has a welcoming public library home! — as is hearing her internal confusion about what’s happened. Definitely worth a read.
Once Was a Time, Leila Sales