Book Review: An Acceptable Time– Madeleine L’Engle

Goodreads Synopsis:

A flash of lightning, quivering ground, and, instead of her grandparents' farm, Polly sees mist and jagged mountains -- and coming toward her, a group of young men carrying spears. Why has a time gate opened and dropped Polly into a world that existed 3,000 years ago? Will she be able to get back to the present before the time gate closes -- and leaves her to face a group of people who believe in human sacrifice?


‘An Acceptable Time’ is the last book in the series and even though I am happy I’ve read them, I’m also happy there are not any more. In this book we again are taken on a journey back in time, about 3,000 years, to spend time with a native tribe called ‘People of the Wind’. Charles Wallace visited the ‘People of the Wind’ back in ‘A Swiftly Tilting Planet’; in this book Polly (Meg and Calvin’s daughter) is the one that goes back in time.

It’s a cute story but it doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. In the first four books in the series, L’Engle has had a point she wanted to get across, some grand statement. In this book it feels like she is trying to reconcile Druidry with Christianity. If I were to allow myself to speculate I would probably say she has some newfound interest in Druidry and wants it to be compatible with her long-standing Christian beliefs. However, to do this it would appear she is trying to reshape it to fit her ideals. For example, in the book a young druid casts runes and the bishop in the story proclaims “…these are not fortune-telling stones?” Then the Druid replies “No, No…The stones do not tell us what is going to happen, or what we are to do…” Now, I’m by no means a 3,000-year-old Druid but from what I’ve read Druids were known for their gift of prophecy.  But hey, who am I to judge.

I am a little confused as to how this book is really part of the series – other than the fact that they have some of the same characters. In the first three books it’s all about the fight against the Echthroi. I thought ‘Many Waters’ was just a little fun side story and that we would be returning to this theme in ‘An Acceptable Time’ but that didn’t happen and the Echthroi were not even mentioned. Just when I was starting to get onboard with the whole idea of shadow creatures taking over the universe!

On the whole not bad, however there are about 100 pages that can probably be skipped – its just 100 pages of Polly and the Bishop trying to convince her grandparents that they really are going back in time. It isn’t a great grand finale to the series but rather a cute story that can be read just on its own.