Thus begins one of the most popular series in children’s literature – The Time Quartet by Madeline L’Engle. It had been forever since I had read these books. One day, I just felt the need for something comfortable and familiar, so I picked up A Wrinkle in Time. I had almost forgotten how good that book was, so of course, I had to read the whole series. Just because.
Oh, and just to keep track of my reading goal, I finished the first two books in 2012 and the last two books in 2013. So that’s how I’m counting them. 🙂
The first three books focus most on Meg Murry, a young girl who is gangly and awkward in the first book, but grows into herself by book three. In A Wrinkle in Time, we learn that her father is a physicist who was working on a top secret project for the government. He has gone missing. No one knows where he is and no one will give any information on what he was doing. Her youngest brother, Charles Wallace, is something of a prodigy, but also has the ability to read people almost like a book. He can tell what they’re thinking and feeling. On that dark and stormy night, they get a visit from a strange character named Mrs. Whatsit, who tells them that they will need to be brave in order to help their father, and that there is such a thing as a tesseract.
They are also joined by a boy from Meg’s school, Calvin, who stands out from his family of misfits. He ends up joining Meg and Charles Wallace, and with the help of Mrs. Whatsit and her two friends, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, they go off on a mission to save their father.
The second book, A Wind in the Door, has Meg and Calvin battling evil once again. Traveling between the immensity of the stars, to the tiniest of places (a part of a cell inside Charles Wallace), they fight to stop the forces that are trying to kill Charles Wallace from the inside out. They are joined this time by a strange creature called a cherubim, which looks like many dragons lumped together. They all discover how important Charles Wallace is, not just to his family, but to the fight against evil itself.
The third book, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, focuses much more on Charles Wallace. He is older now, in his teens, and Meg is all grown up, married to Calvin, and expecting her first child. The family hears of a terrorist in South American who is threatening to start nuclear war, which will destroy the planet. Charles Wallace goes outside to think and is greeted by a unicorn named Gaudior. They travel in and out of time, looking for the threads that caused Mad Dog Branzillo to become who he is today and try to change the Might-Have-Beens in order to save the world.
The fourth book, Many Waters, is completely different. It focuses on the two other children in the Murray house, the twins Sandy and Dennys. They fiddle with one of their father’s experiments and accidentally send themselves back in time to the era of Noah and the flood. During that time, there are angels still on the earth – both good angels (the Seraphim) and fallen angels (the Nephilim). Sandy and Dennys have to figure out how to survive and, oh yeah, get back home before it starts to rain.
None of these summaries do the books justice. I read these books so much as a kid, I had to replace them. I now have a nice new box set. The spines aren’t all shredded with use, the covers hanging on by the barest of threads. What I love most about these books is how they bring together two seemingly incompatible views – religion and science – and show how they can work together in perfect harmony. The characters are fun, the adventures creative and exciting. If you missed reading these books as a kid, go ahead and pick them up now. Adults can enjoy them just as much as children, if not more.