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

ISBN: 0810992167
ISBN 13: 9780810992160
By: Maiya Williams

Check Price Now


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


Fun quick little time-travel book, good for historical fiction fans. Rowan and his sister Nina are staying with aunts for a while, still grieving over the death of their mom a year ago, while their dad deals with his own problems. They meet Xavier and Xanthe, twins their age, while exploring an old abandoned hotel--which turns out to be a portal to another time! (Kinda reminded me of the movie Somewhere in Time, but not in the same romantic sense, just a cool old hotel with people from another era in it) When Nina goes off on her own through the hotel's "Alleviator" (an elevator that takes you to whatever day in history you choose), it's up to Rowan and the twins to follow her--straight into the French Revolution!


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".


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...


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.

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

Neill Smith

When Rowan’s mom died his sister, Nina, stopped communicating with anyone. When his dad’s bakery got in financial trouble, Rowan and his sister were sent to spend some time with their great aunts in a tiny backwoods village. But the aunts know more than they tell and the village is a portal to time – an opportunity for Rowan and Nina to develop some talents, discover some truths, and restart their lives. In a search for his missing sister Rowan finds himself embroiled in the French Revolution while Nina was examining some other truths.


I absolutely love historical fiction and this is an easier one but I quite like it...good settings and characters!

Kelsey Christensen

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


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!


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.

Susan Erhardt

Tweens who enjoyed the "Magic Treehouse" books when they were younger would probably enjoy this story. My 13-year-old really liked it and bugged me until I read it.

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!


This is another one of those books I grabbed before it even hit the shelf at my other job. It just looked good. And it sounded rather unique. And it was.This is a book that has a bit of something for everyone: time travel for the sci-fi lover, a place that can only be seen two hours out of a day (and the time travel) for fantasy lovers, lessons learned about life and self for the realist in us, and plain old fun and excitement for the rest. The very beginning might take some bearing with; while it peaks your interest and curiosity, it also at times seems slightly random and can leave you feeling a little lost. But hanging in there is definitely worth it. The story picks up quickly and then becomes hard to put down. And while I wondered briefly how on earth it would wrap up in time and not be destined for life as a serial, it did. And remarkably well at that. So, if you need some time out of your life, try this little time-hopping jaunt. It's sure to get you away.


I really liked the time-travel premise, but I felt that the main character acted much younger than his stated age, and either needed a large injection of hormones, or needed his age dropped.


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

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *