The Golden Hour (Time-Travel Series, #1)

ISBN: 0810992167
ISBN 13: 9780810992160
By: Maiya Williams

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Children's Fantasy Favorites Fiction Historical Historical Fiction Juvenile Science Fiction Time Travel To Read

About this book

Thirteen-year-old Rowan and his eleven-year-old sister Nina, still bereft by the death of their mother the year before, experience an unusual adventure through time when they come to stay with their two eccentric great-aunts in a small town on the Maine coast.

Reader's Thoughts


I just loved this book. It was so wonderful. So basically, the book is about a boy named Rowan, who is forced to spend his summer in a small town in Maine with his silent sister Nina. But then, along with twins Xanthe and Xavier, he explores a mysterious old hotel, that suddenly comes to life at certain hours. Suddenly, Nina disappears, and Rowan, Xanthe, and Xavier must find her. At least, that’s what the book description says. What it doesn’t tell you is that they travel back in time to the French Revolution (via the old hotel), where they think Nina is. And that is what I really loved about the book.First of all, I always love books with time travel in them, and second, the French Revolution was a very interesting (though brutal) period. We meet many famous characters, like Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI. I was quite surprised to find the depiction of Marie Antoinette more favorable than is usual. At one point, Rowan finds himself having dinner with her, and she seems quite anguished over false accusations being leveled at her. It was very different and certainly interesting to read. You’d have to do more research to really say. Surprising, Maiya Williams does not touch on her portrayal of Marie Antoinette in the afterword.Another great thing was the characters: Rowan, Nina, the twins, and his two great aunts were all so amazing. As well as, of course, all the characters from the French revolution.I also received this book from Abram’s, and though it was easy, I still loved it, and could probably appreciate it more now than a few years ago because I know a bit more about the French revolution.The “golden” hour of the title refers to the moment right before sunset, in between day and night. Quite a beautiful concept. There is also a “silver” hour, the time before sunrise. (Additionally, the golden and silver hours are when you can travel back in time.)The Golden Hour is not all about time travel though. Both Rowan and Nina learn something throughout. I would definitely recommend this one.You can read all of my reviews at my blog,

Scottsdale Public Library

The Golden Hour is a delightfully crafted story, weaving together magic, humor, history, and emotion. The adventure of searching for Nina and time traveling to the French Revolution will capture the audience. The reader assumes that the characters will find the missing sister and return to their present time, but Williams keeps them guessing as to how all the events will transpire. -Sara G


One of my favorite books of all time. I first read this years ago, and I haven't forgotten it. I love it!


This is a book about a 13year old boy named Rowan, and his 11 year old sister Nina going on an adventure with their 2 aunts that have very different personalities. One of the aunt is mental, and the other aunt is very unaware. The four of them are on an adventure to find their dad who left them 5 years ago, because their mother's death 1 year ago. They have very little money, plus, they need to make sure that the aunts are safe because, on their way, they meet dangerous events. Rowan is a boy that is very brave, smart, and responsible. He knows how to keep the aunts and Nina safe, and he makes smart plans in the middle of the adventure. He reminds me of Mirri, in The Iron Ring because, Mirri made smart plans on the journey to help Tamar, just like Rowan.


I picked this book up for $1 at my favorite local used bookstore. It was worth my dollar, and probably a little more. It's not going on my favorites shelf, but I did enjoy it. Then again, I like almost every book I read...


This is the beginning of the Time Travel series. I read book #3 a couple months ago and liked it a lot. However, this first book explained a whole lot of things that were a bit vague in book #3. I loved it! The author took time to adequately research the French Revolution and it was great reading about how the people felt during this terrible time in history. It seemed authentic. Marie Antoinette seems like a misunderstood person. In this book 13 year-old Rowen and his 11 year-old sister Nina, a childhood music prodigy, are hurting from the sudden death of their mother. The family is falling apart. They are sent for the summer to their very odd great aunts in Maine where they meet twins Xanthe and Xavier. There's an old resort hotel in the town and there's something very odd about it. That's when they discover that every evening at sunset, the golden hour, the place comes alive. Intriguingly, time travel is possible at this time. When Nina disappears the others are sure that she went to meet her idol, Mozart, and so they hurry after her- right into the French Revolution of the 1790s. I definitely want book #2 "The Hour of the Cobra".

Jennifer Boyer

I loved it, and I'm overjoyed to see there are other books in the series. My 11 year old daughter loved it too.


The Golden Hour By: Maiya WilliamsTeresa The Golden Hour is the first book of the time-travel series by Maiya Williams. In this book a boy named Rowan, and his sister Nina were invited to stay at their aunts house in Owatannauk, for the summer. Rowan and Nina soon found strange things about this little town. Their curiosity soon brought them and their new friends Xanthe and Xavier to a abandoned hotel. After looking around at the hotel something strange suddenly happened. The hotel looked new again. After getting in the hotel they learned that the hotel had a vehicle called “Alleviators” that can take them back in time, but they decided not to go. The next morning Rowan’s sister disappeared. Rowan thought his sister used the alleviator and went back in time. So Rowan, Xanthe, and Xavier decided to go look for his sister. When Nina disappeared and Rowan, Xanthe, and Xavier searched for her, it was like when me and my cousins were on a ferry and one of my cousins got mad and ran off somewhere. We searched for him and after a few minutes we found him sitting next to my mom in the ferry. I really like this book because it is adventurous and exciting. I also like this book because I can understand what is happening. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes adventure, time traveling, or history.

Kelsey Christensen

I started the audio version of this book, but the voice of the grandmother drove me absolutely crazy, so I switched over.


Fantasy time travel novel based around a brother and sister coming to terms with the death of their mother. An engaging story which finds the brother in revolutionary France which will appeal to lovers of historical fiction whilst the sister goes to visit her mother before she dies. How they both come to terms with living in the present without their mother is told gently and sensitively.


I picked up a copy of this book a couple of years ago at my local re-use it center as the synopsis on the dust cover captured my attention. However, what really piqued my interest was an inscription to a young girl named McKinlee on her 12th birthday which was March 31, 2005 according to the date her Grandma & Grandpa Ward inscribed. Each grandparent had written a lovely & personal message to their young grand-daughter. I often find inscriptions in second hand books but usually they're older books (as i have quite an affinity for old books) & I usually feel quite sure the previous owners have passed from this realm having no further use for their book. However, as this book is newer and the inscription date is in the very recent past, and McKinlee would now be just 21, I found myself wondering why she would have given away such a personal gift? Did she have a falling out with her family? Or worse, has she perhaps moved on from this life? Or, was it simply that this book was placed in the 'donate' pile by mistake & McKinlee has wondered about & lamented it's loss ever since? I wish I knew the answer to this mystery for I'd very much like to re-unite her with this heart-felt gift from her grandparents. Alas, I suppose I shall never know. I will keep it on my bookshelf and take it down from time to time to read the inscription...and wonder.Now, to review the story itself. I found The Golden Hour to be a very enjoyable read. It's an imaginative, adventurous & heart-felt story of 13 year-old Rowan Popplewell and his younger sister, 11 year-old Nina. Their young lives were irrevocably changed in an instant when their mother was killed while out running an errand. Their dad has spiraled into a deep depression, Nina has stopped talking & worse, stopped playing the piano which she has an amazing talent for, bottling up her grief inside herself & leaving Rowan feeling even more alone to deal with his loss; for he and Nina were once extremely close. Fortunately, they are sent to spend a month of their summer break with their two eccentric 'aunts' in a small town in Maine. There they meet Xander & his twin sister Xanthe. Together with their new friends, Rowan & Nina set out on quite an adventure. One that Rowan didn't expect as he & the twins end up going back in time to search for Nina who's gone off on her own but, she's not told anyone where. So Rowan and the twins are left to do some quick investigative work to figure out where she may have gone. Feeling certain they've discovered where, they're off on a mad dash to find her; for they may only visit any given location for a max of 7 days otherwise they'll be trapped in that time forever! During the course of this adventure, Rowan learns a lot about himself & the sometimes confusing manifestations that grief can take, all to his advantage. Nina too, comes out of her self-imposed silence & learns to accept that there are things in life we can't change, no matter how very much we wish that we could & that sometimes the hardest person to forgive is one's self. As a person who lost a parent when I was just a teen, I could relate to Rowan & Nina & I found this to be a very, very good read for many reasons. I'd recommend it to anyone, not just young adults.


I love how much I learned about the French Revolution from this time-travel/historical fiction book (even though some of the facts were skewed). A very quick read and very worthwhile!

Cheryl in CC NV

Seems like I should have heard of this before. In any case, it's Time Travel for young people, so on my list it goes!


Excellent book. A trio of kids travel in time to save one's sister. They find themselves caught up in the French Revolution where they witness the troubles befalling both sides of the conflict.


I liked this story and thought overall it was a good read for middle graders. There were a few references I thought could have been left out or re-phrased to make it more appropriate for school children. ie: no sexual relations when time travelling. Also one character is referered to as Miss for several paragraphs and then as Mrs. and then back to Miss and I hate seeing mistakes like that in a book as it invalidates the story. The time travel in France is the most interesting part.

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