“Time to Heal” is the latest in a time travel series of historical novels for middle schoolers. The author, Todd McClimans, is also an elementary school principal in York, Pennsylvania. In this third book of his American Epochs series, Kristi travels back through time to the battle fields and make-shift hospitals of the Civil War to find her friend Ty.
“Time to Heal” is written in an easy-to-follow third-person point of view. The characters established in the first two novels of this series continue to grow in depth. Yet each novel in the series could be read as a stand-alone novel.
The story opens in the present day where Kristi continues to try to adjust to her new roommate, Brittany, who is also her ten-year-old stepsister. Brittany continues to be an outsider at the exclusive George Washington Prep private school in southeastern Pennsylvania. Kristi finally has a change of heart and decides to be kinder and more accepting of her math–wizard, stepsister. But the younger girl’s manipulative tenacity remains a real challenge for Kristi.
Kristi travels back to 1862 to find Ty. He’s been patching up the wounds of neighbors and farm workers since being adopted by Dr. Thomas Jordan, who was also an active link in the Underground Railroad. Ty has a close relationship with Jonathan, Thomas’s older adopted son. Jonathan joins the Union Army to fight against slavery and dies of infection from a simple leg wound a few weeks later.
Ty feels compelled to follow his brother’s lead, but not as a soldier. Ty plans to be a surgeon for battle-field injuries. He uses his knowledge from the future to teach army doctors about germs and washing hands before treating each patient. The reader is introduced to concepts like the triaging patients. The plot takes many twists and turns, introducing the reader to unforgettable characters from the Civil War. Clara Barton reluctantly accepts help from Kristi and Ty; she refers to them as “the children.” Barton is described as courageous, compassionate lady who received dedicated respect from the Union army soldiers, regardless of rank. Ty says this about Miss Barton: “She saved so many lives. She gave them strength, and helped others to die peacefully.”
Together Kristi and Ty assist with the care of hundreds of wounded and dying soldiers; many of the soldiers are their age.
Kristi saves Ty from an early death; he trains to be a real doctor and lives to the age of 98.
Historic figures and facts thread through these well-researched novels, and come to life for the reader. I believe this series should be included in history classes across America. And after teaching the history lessons in these novels, a trip to Gettysburg would be the perfect end-of-the-year school field trip.
“Time to Heal” by Todd McClimans is published by Overdue Books.
Reviewer Cheryl Bazzoui is a writer from Bradford. She writes under the pen name Ann McCauley.