The Time of the Ghost, Paperback Book

The Time of the Ghost Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


Can a ghost from the future save a life in the past?

A chilling tale of dark forces and revenge...The ghost turns up one summer day, alone in a world she once knew, among people who were once her family.

She knows she is one of four sisters, but which one?

She can be sure of only one thing - that there's been an accident.As she struggles to find her identity, she becomes aware of a malevolent force stirring around her.

Something terrible is about to happen. One of the sisters will die - unless the ghost can use the future to reshape the past.

But how can she warn them, when they don't even know she exists?


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Horror & ghost
  • ISBN: 9780007112173

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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

I loved this book. It is the story of a ghost who appears in a place she discovers is her home, knowing there has been an accident. As she tries to discover who she is and what has happened, the story of her family, and the disturbing goings on come to light. A great read, really creepy, both in the ghost story and the portrayal of a family where everything is not as lovely as the ghost initially believes.

Review by
The Time of the Ghost was unexpected. I knew it was about a ghost who is one of four neglected sisters watching her sisters, trying to work out who she is and what exactly was the accident which precipitated her becoming a ghost – and it is that, so I am not sure exactly why it was unexpected, but it was.The sisters are believably rounded, original and flawed people. Jones really captures sibling relationships – that mixture of love, exasperation, tolerance and anger. These girls do not get along in perfect harmony, because have foibles and irritating quirks; they don’t always say the right things and are not always likeable. There is something unsettling about this – initially, the ghost is critical of her family, and there is the uncomfortable possibility of discovering that she has been disliked, or unlikeable, or wrong. But by the end, the story had convinced me that not only were these sisters likeable, they genuinely liked each other, and it made me wish that the story went on. The girls’ lives felt real and vividly so, from their circumstances and how they deal with being neglected or ignored by their parents, to their friendships with boys who attend the school their parents run, and their dreams and plans and occasionally crazy antics.As a mystery, it is compelling, and as a tale of adolescents who become caught up in something evil, it was seriously eerie. I think the evil supernatural aspect of the plot would have bothered me had I read it when I was much younger. Now, I do not know exactly what I think about it. I was disappointed when it ended – it wasn’t a bad ending; by Jones’ standards, it wasn’t even a particularly confusing ending, but I wanted more about these characters and their world. So it was a good sort of disappointment… which suggests it was a good sort of book.“If you’re ready to listen to me—I didn’t mean that,” Fenella said, and still very portentous, she turned in a swirl of crooked green sack and marched away.“Then what was it about?” Cart said to Imogen.Imogen spread her hands. “Fenella being Fenella.” She raised her hands to the ceiling. “Oh, why am I cursed with sisters?”“You’re not the only one!” snarled Cart.
Review by

It's hard to know who's more evil in the story, the children's parents or Monigan. Apparently most of the things these parents do in this story are from Diana's real childhood, which is a bit scary in itself. Adding in a layer of the supernatural only adds to the horror. The ghost of the title wakes up one summer day alone in the world and unsure who she is, she's certain that there's been an accident and she's trying to work out how to prevent it and how to fix the future.It's an interesting story, very dark and has moments that genuinely made me worry for the characters. Found it an intersting read.

Review by

It's quite strange reading this after reading the Reflections collection, knowing how autobiographical this happens to be. And how things that really happened to Diana Wynne Jones had to be <I>toned down</I> to be at all believable in the story. Of course, it still has that expansive, slightly breakneck pace of most of Jones' work -- there's something a little, well, mad about it. Colourful. I don't know how to describe it -- it's a swirl of colours and impressions. A child's imagination.<br/><br/>I read this all in one go; the biggest hook is the confused narrator, the way you can't quite get things straight. The plot itself -- I don't know, I wasn't so keen on the whole Monigan thing. (Intentional closeness to Morrigan?) I suppose that's my adult way of demanding explanations, though: as a child I'd probably just have accepted that an evil goddess clung to the land and somehow possessed a doll.<br/><br/>(The last bit of this review is a reaction to Diana Wynne Jones' thoughts on the differences between writing for children and writing for adults. Children, she found, make the connections much more readily and instinctively than adults. She had to do more explanation when she wrote for adults.)

Review by

Anyone who has read a couple of books by Diana Wynne Jones knows that anything can happen and the explanation in the end is almost never the one you expected it to be in the beginning. This is true for Time of the Ghost, too, and although it certainly is not Diana Wynne Jones' best book, it was nonetheless great fun to watch the story unfold and find out what's behind all the strange goings-on.<br/><br/>I agree that it is to a certain amount darker than her other books, a little more disturbing, too. I've always felt that she doesn't shy away from darker themes or ideas, and I've always liked that, actually. I think even (or especially!) if you write children's or YA books, it's a good thing to admit to at least the potential for cruelty and violence in humans. (That said, this book is neither cruel nor violent and I wouldn't have any doubts about giving it to my 10 year old nephew.)<br/><br/>Confusion-wise I felt it is roughly on a level with Hexwood (which I love dearly), and it has a similar twist in the middle that leaves you with a bunch of question marks floating over your head. But, as usual with DWJ, things get cleared up in the end (and rather quickly). At no point in the book it felt exasperating to me, it only added to the need to read on!<br/><br/>What fascinated me was the great characterization, as DWJ leaves enough room for interpretation, change and imperfections in the characters to make them thoroughly real in their strangeness (Fenella must be one of the coolest characters I've come across in a while). Due to the nature of the protagonist it was a bit difficult to follow through with the old relatin', but it didn't stop me from enjoying the book and offered a refreshing change of method to explore the story. The ending was a bit rushed, as Mrs Jones tends to wrap up things quickly, but personally I don't mind - it's as if she's saying "here's my explanation, now think about it yourself".

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