There's always been something I've really liked about the story, A Handful of Time. The main character, Patricia, is only twelve, but re-reading this story again now, it still doesn't seem too child-ish or far out there.
It's one of those "fairy" stories you just have to love--mixed in with a good bit of lazy, old-fashioned summer--about something that just couldn't happen, but is believable when it does.
Maybe I always liked it so much because it dealt with a girl who travels back in time--something I always longed to do. Here's an excerpt:
Patricia ran her hands rapidly over the tufted pattern of the chenille bedspread. She couldn't believe that she was back here so suddenly...that the vivid dream was over. She rubbed her forehead, trying to wake up fully.
Her hair was damp.
She pulled her fingers through it and started to tremble. Her hair was damp because an hour ago she had stuck her head under icy water that had seemed surprisingly real.
Had it been real? She had been just as wide awake then as she was now. She had known it all along in some part of her. Pretending it was a dream had cushioned the shock of what had happened-- that, somehow, she had been spirited back thirty-five years to her mother's childhood and now, just as mysteriously, had returned to the present...
...She curled up and pondered every detail of the adventure. Her grandparents, Pat and Andrew. (Why not Wilfred?) Her uncles, Gordon and Rodney. Her aunt, Ginnie. And especially Ruth, her mother. Ruth's anger and isolation and unhappiness. And old cars and wood stoves and pumps and the canoe and the strange call of a bird...Patricia closed her eyes.
By Kit Pearson