Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Digital Audiobook narrated by Marisa Calin
Published by Macmillan Audio on November 1st 2011
Series: Ruby Red #1
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Romance, Historical, Historical Fiction
Length: 322 pages or 8 hours, 50 minutes
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Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
I simply LOVED this book.
Ruby Red was such a lot of fun. Gwyneth Shepard’s family has too many secrets. One of these is that her cousin, Charlotte, has inherited the time travel gene and she must keep an eye to see if Charlotte gets dizzy and, very importantly, draw a chalk circle where she disappears. Only, it isn’t Charlotte who disappears – it’s Gwyneth! Completely uninitiated, poor Gwennie is thrust into her family’s grand conspiracy theory, and has to decide who to trust, and who is trying to kill her.
This audiobook was one of the ones I listened to in all my spare moments. On the way to the auto shop. In the shower. Before bed. It was a delight.
Gwyneth is real and funny and wonderful. She goes with the flow of things, asks loads of questions, acts instinctively, and has such a strong, silly personality. I delighted in listening to her babble on. There’s a whole scene where she’s trying to clear her mind and she’s singing “God Save the Queen” over and over again and honest to goodness, she just cracked me up.
Gideon and Charlotte were both great in their transcendent world of “I have the time travel gene and therefore I am better than you”. Aunt Maddie was nutty and funny, and Lesley was cool and smart and likable as a best friend. You even get to liking Gordon and Doctor White. And you want more of their stories… which I imagine we’ll see later in the trilogy.
This story takes place primarily in modern London, but it finds its strength in the moments of time travel. I did not have the best sense of modern London outside of the school, but I got an excellent sense of the 1800s and early 1900s. I particularly loved the scene where she jumped at school. I found that particular scene vivid and wonderful.
You get a great sense of time from the clothing, which “must be authentic” and adds a lot to the feel. The wigs and hats and leggings and dresses are all described wonderful and they were fun scenes.
I demand an explanation about Aunt Maddie’s vision. AND ABOUT THE FLASHBACK WITH HER KISSING GIDEON WHAT HAPPENED. I feel like there are so many things that have not been properly answered at the end of this book and I must know. I adore stories that leave me with a lot of questions and a tantalizing promise to answer them later. Maybe.
We aren’t completely left on a cliff at the end of this book. Some things are starting to come to light. But there is definitely no closure.
Writing / Narration
I have difficulties with translations… especially for some reason German > English translations? This translation was glorious. Nothing felt dull or over-described or disjointed.
Additionally, I cannot recommend the audiobook version enough. There are delicious accents and the silliness and frustration in Gwennie comes off sooo well and it is marvelous.
I have so much love for this book it is jumping PROMPTLY on my “To Buy” list. I adore any book that makes me laugh out loud and I found myself chuckling even as I picked out some of the quotes to feature below. Beyond that, I really did like the concept of the “time travel gene” and I want to know exactly how the ghosts will play in at the end…. ALL THE STARS. <3
“As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park.”
“You were talking to that niche in the wall again, Gwyneth. I saw you.”
“Yes, but it’s my favorite bit of wall, Gordon. I’d hurt its feelings if I didn’t stop and talk to it.
“The others can’t see me,” said the little ghost.
“I know,” I said. “My name’s Gwyneth. What’s yours?”
“Dr. White to you,” said Dr. White.
“I’m Robert,” said the ghost.
“That’s a very nice name,” I said.
“Thank you,” said Dr. White. “I’ll return the compliment by saying you have very nice veins.”
“Friends of yours, eh? I think one of them’s about to faint.”
Oh, my god. “That’s Chloe Dale,” I said without turning around. “She suffers from high estrogen levels. I can introduce you if you like.”
“I have a headache too,” said Mum. “But that doesn’t mean I’m about to start traveling in time.”
“You’re not ordinary, Gwyneth,” he whispered as he began stroking my hair. “You’re totally, absolutely extraordinary. You don’t need the magic of any raven to be special to me.” He leaned as close as he could get, with his head and arms through the opening of the confessional window, and when his lips touched my mouth, I shut my eyes. Okay. So now I was going to faint.”
Books I’d Recommend
This book was such a delight and there are far too few time travel books on my shelf. That said, I don’t have many time travel books to recommend. But I would recommend this book to people who like:
- Silly But Funny Female Protagonists.
- London at Different Periods in History.
- Science Fiction Stories With Secret Societies.
- Fans of the TV Show Timeless.