Ruby Red

Paperback | May 22, 2012

byKerstin GierTranslated byAnthea Bell

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Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon-the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red is young adult novel full of fantasy and romance.

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From the Publisher

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about he...

Kerstin Gier is the bestselling author of the Ruby Red trilogy, as well as several popular novels for adults. She lives in Germany.Anthea Bell is the foremost translator of German literature in the world. And she thinks Ruby Red is just "charming"!

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.24 × 5.51 × 0.96 inPublished:May 22, 2012Publisher:Square FishLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312551517

ISBN - 13:9780312551513

Customer Reviews of Ruby Red

Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh #plumreview This book was not for me, I wasn't a big fan of the story or characters in found that nothing really happened and needless to say I won't be continuing with this series #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read This is the first book in The Ruby Red Trilogy. The time-traveling in this story is amazing and well thought out. It is a gripping tale that you won’t want to miss out on.
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cool This was a cool book about time travel, family and typical teenage problems. Over all I enjoyed it the time travel aspect was done well, even though a little confusing at times (but that usual with any kind of time travel book) It has an interesting cast of characters and an interesting system of magic (well not really magic more like inherited time travel abilities) oh and of course drama!
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not too shabby First of all, all of this kind of happen during a span of like a week or two and everything is kind of unbelievable, like no way all of this can happen during a short period of time. The love interest is kind of a douchebag and is mostly interested in himself, but he's cute and he genuinely tries to be a good guy so he's not bad. I like this book but it's not really one of my favourites.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I thought this book was amazing. The characters were great especially Gwenyth because she was really sarcastic and funny and just amusing to read about. There's definitely mystery going on in this story and I don't know who I'm supposed to believe anymore so I guess I'll just wait and see what happens in the next books. I liked how it wasn't difficult to understand in which era they were and not get the two worlds mixed up together. I found it hard to imagine Gwen and the other characters living in the modern time because the time travel aspect of the book made me think of England as it was in the past and not the present. Overall, this book was a terrific read and I'm super excited to see how the story turns out. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Attention to detail makes the story believable Time travel books are one of my favourite genre. I particularly enjoy reading how the travellers copes with his or her alternate time periods. In this novel, Gwyneth Shepherd has known about such travel all her life, but had expected that her cousin Charlotte would be the traveller. Author Kerstin Gier well conveyed Gwyn's confusion and displeasure when she realised that she would be the traveller instead. Joining her in her travels is Gideon; he has been training his entire life for these adventures. Unlike him, Gwyn will have to use her instincts to guide her through the different time periods that she visits. She also has a unique gift that should prove helpful. Gwyn and Gideon make an interesting pair. He wants to do this travelling and Gwyn is as of yet ambivalent about it. He has been trained in skills such as fencing and period dance while she hasn't. Time will tell whether Gwyn's lack of training will be a hindrance or an asset in their future. I can't decide whether I like Gideon or not. He is very self assured, almost smug in his superiority over Gwyn. I supposed that he would need that assurance when travelling into different time periods and unknown situations. Like Gwyn, he has to decide who is telling the truth and what that means for them. Will he be able to stand up and make his decision or will he blindly follow what he has been told by the privileged old men controlling them. I love the descriptions of the clothing that has been carefully crafted for the two of them. What good would a time travel story be without such wonderful outfits. It helps to set the mood by understanding the challenges of 'fitting in' in the past. I listened to the unabridged audio book read by Marisa Calin. 8 hours 50 minutes. Ms. Calin helped bring life to the characters. She particularly brought out the venom of Charlotte's mother and the neglect of Gwyn's grandmother. I felt that the book ended too soon. There was so much time spent building the characters and the settings, then a few short events and it was over. Fortunately the story continues in Sapphire Blue.
Date published: 2016-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not what I was expecting! I loved this book so much! Had a feeling I would too! I especially loved the allusions to many historical figures being a complete history fanatic. All the characters in this book were so well developed; most books lack that aspect. I'm so glad it's written in first person because Gwen is such a hilarious character. I actually laughed out loud quite a lot throughout the book because of her. The plot itself is really intriguing: 12 time travellers each with their own gem and special power; it's really original and fun to read about! The concept of time travel can get very confusing but the plot is very carefully planned out and having read the last book I can say that everything ties together very well. In other words the confusing aspects of this first book will all be resolved in the end. The epilogue will have you running to the next book!
Date published: 2014-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome series. Great translation. I'm a sucker for a little adventure and romance. The characters are hilarious and über witty with their one-liners. Definitely a must read for the entire series. Sad to see it end.
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ruby Red is worth all 5 Blazing Red Stars! With the release of the third and final book of the Ruby Red series due out tomorrow (October 8, 2013), I decided to give Ruby Red a read. Am I ever glad that I took this book off my shelf! It's the wonderfully crafted tale of Gwyneth, a girl whose family is not so average. Some of the women carry a special gene that allows them to travel back in time. This story was a pleasure to read and, in my opinion, a unique concept that didn't disappoint. Many times authors have the best ideas and intentions for their stories but somehow fall flat. Kerstin Gier created believable and interesting characters in a multidimensional world that was fun to visit. I'm looking forward to diving straight into Sapphire Blue today! Must read!
Date published: 2013-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from When I first read this book, I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It kept me on me wanting to read more and I finished within 2 days. An amazing read!
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Great!
Date published: 2013-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A new find! This book was a delightful surprise! Sometimes you take a chance on a new author and you realize that you've been missing out! What I liked most about this is the fact that Kerstin manages to keep it feeling 'real' and almost plausible with a story about time travel. For me, it was reminiscent of Diana Gabaldon! I hope Emerald Green becomes available soon... :S
Date published: 2013-02-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Such potential... ***SPOILERS*** I was really enjoying this book, it is an interesting idea and wonderfully executed. And then I got to the last couple of pages and lost all interest in reading the next one. All of these wonderful ideas and great setups for conflict and a good cliffhanger, and what does the author go with, but a kiss. I would have loved for Lucy and Paul to reveal something extraordinary, the role they play in the story, then I would have gone out and picked up the next one in a heartbeat. Or may something is revealed about the Count, or Gideon starts to question the Guardians, but no, the last few pages are all about the flutter of kisses; I thought I mixed up the last few pages and was now reading Twilight. Yes the epilogue hints and intrigue, but not something so surprising that it wasn't hinted at in the story. I may pick up the next one, I may not. I fear the next one will be all about their "romance" instead of all of the wonderful story ideas introduced in this book.
Date published: 2013-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enchanting. Magical. Full of excitement. When Gwyneth finds out that she can time travel, and her cousin can not, her life becomes an adventure from there on. It's a humorous, fantasy romance. A wonderful balance. Written extremely well. Sapphire Blue comes out on October 30th and I can't wait. A must read.
Date published: 2012-09-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from great for tweens! http://bookchateau.blogspot.ca/2012/08/ruby-red-kerstin-gier.html Decent book - great for tweens, not so much for adults who like Y.A. novels ... its just a little young. It was a fast-paced and entertaining novel - it only took me a few hours to get through it. Good ideas, love the idea of time travel and secret societies. My one major problem with the book was the main character Gwen who is supposed to be 16 going on 17 but she acts like she's 12 going on 13 . . . The other thing ... if you want a novel with a satisfying ending, you won't get it here, the story stops abruptly and leaves the reader with a lot of unanswered questions. Hopefully they will be answered in the sequel(s) however it is really irritiating that I have to now wait . . .
Date published: 2012-08-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intregue, Suspense & Time Travel I really enjoyed reading this book, it kept me reading and was fairly quick, but also had a good amount of suspense, mystery and intrigue. In fact, each chapter was written to keep the reader wanting more. Even the cover is quite beautiful and drew me in. The story is told in the first person and takes place in present day London, with time traveling to Victorian London. Gwyneth has just learned that she has inherited the family gene for time traveling. Everyone thought her cousin Charlotte was the one who had inherited the gene, so Gwen has not been prepared while Charlotte has been. This sets up a rivalry between Gwen and Charlotte when they realize that the table have been turned, and I anticipate some interesting things in the rest of the series. I can totally picture the whole family dynamics that took place, right down to the matriarch grandmother and the snobby aunt. Gwyneth is an interesting character, but at the same time can be quite mindless and forgetful. Most of the time this makes her endearing and funny, but occasionally this does get annoying. She also shows some good growth during the book with the potential for a lot more in the next books. I love her enthusiasm and the way that she jumps right in when she realizes that she is a time traveler, but also her trepidation in telling her mother is also real and understandable coming from a teen aged girl. Gwen's best friend, Lesley is great and is a nice foil for Gwen - she is smart and enthusiastic and the relationship between her and Gwen seems authentic. Then there is the good looking and charming Gideon, who is set up to be the perfect romantic interest. He is a relatively minor character in this book, with the potential to be a great character in the next one. The only thing that bothers me about his character was the ending - I felt that his reactions to what happened at the end were a bit forced. My other frustration with the book was Gwen's mother. I could not understand why she would not sit down with Gwen and tell her what was going on, especially after Gwen started time traveling. However, she probably has her reasons which may come out in the next books. I really enjoyed the story and the time traveling. There is lots of detail and what feels like a good historical accuracy. It certainly leaves the reader wanting to know more and there is foreshadowing of big things to come. I except the second in the series, Sapphire Blue, whose translation is due out next year, to be quite exciting and explosive. At times it felt like this book spent most of its time setting up the bigger story, which left this one a little bit unsatisfying, but I am willing to forgive this because I think it is setting up something great. I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in young adult fantasy, especially if they like time traveling.
Date published: 2011-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Time Traveling Romance and Adventure Ruby Red is a novel that caught my attention immediately. The title, the cover, the synopsis...well heck...even the book trailer had me dying to read it. When Tara from Zeitghost media contacted me about reviewing the novel I agreed...immediately! As if the title taunting me each and every day from the YA table at work wasn't enough. The novel begins off rather slowly. In fact, I found myself rather confused. The prologue in itself is a major spoiler to the reader though I'm more than sure that it was not the author's intention. Gwyneth Shepherd plays the role of the "normal teen" even though she's clearly not all that normal. You see, her family carries the "time traveler gene". However Gwen has been told that the gene lies within Charlotte, who has been relentlessly prepared for the ordeal her entire life. Charlotte has been subject to all sorts of training including learning several languages and history. But of course we then learn that Charlotte is not the one with the gene but that it is indeed Gwen, which is where the story in Ruby Red begins. I have to hand it to Kerstin Gier, she really went out of her way to create intricate graphs and charts that would clearly depict the time traveler gene. It was also interesting to learn about the time traveler "lore". The naming of the travelers with jewels was also interesting, Gwen being a Ruby. At times I felt that the story was a little shaky and some of the characters undeveloped but this might very well be a case of "lost in translation" as Ruby Red was not originally written in English. Towards the end I find myself having one question: "Why did Gideon and Gwen fall for eachother?" The sudden romance was unexpected as I was very sure that Gwen had hated Gideon. It was odd seeing her fall for someone she had disliked so much in the beginning. Gideon, however, I was not surprised about. I'm more than sure that Gideon would have fallen for a door knob had it the ability to travel back in time, as initially he had his sights out on Charlotte, who at the time was thought to have the gene. In the end I found Ruby Red to be an interesting beginning to a new series and a great new edition to the previously released YA time travel novels that I've loved so much. I'm interested in seeing what the sequel, Sapphire Blue, will bring to the story. Readers can expect Sapphire Blue to hit shelves spring 2012.
Date published: 2011-08-06

Extra Content

Read from the Book

ONE I FIRST FELT IT in the school canteen on Monday morning. For a moment it was like being on a roller coaster when you’re racing down from the very top. It lasted only two seconds, but that was long enough for me to dump a plateful of mashed potatoes and gravy all over my school uniform. I managed to catch the plate just in time, as my knife and fork clattered to the floor.“This stuff tastes like it’s been scraped off the floor anyway,” said my friend Lesley while I mopped up the damage as well as I could. Of course everyone was looking at me. “You can have mine too, if you fancy spreading some more on your blouse.”“No thanks.” As it happens, the blouse of the St. Lennox High School uniform was pretty much the color of mashed potatoes anyway, but you still couldn’t miss seeing the remaining globs of my lunch. I buttoned up my dark blue blazer over it.“There goes Gwenny, playing with her food again!” said Cynthia Dale. “Don’t you sit next to me, you mucky pup.”“As if I’d ever sit next to you of my own free will, Cyn.” It’s a fact, I’m afraid, that I did quite often have little accidents with school lunches. Only last week my pudding had hopped out of its dish and landed a few feet away, right in a Year Seven boy’s spaghetti carbonara. The week before that I’d knocked my cranberry juice over, and everyone at our table was splashed. They looked as if they had measles. And I really couldn’t count the number of times the stupid tie that’s part of our school uniform had been drenched in sauce, juice, or milk.Only I’d never felt dizzy at the same time before.But I was probably just imagining it. There’d been too much talk at home recently about dizzy feelings.Not mine, though: my cousin Charlotte’s dizzy spells. Charlotte, beautiful and immaculate as ever, was sitting right there next to Cynthia, gracefully scooping mashed potatoes into her delicate mouth.The entire family was on tenterhooks, waiting for Charlotte to have a dizzy fit. On most days, my grandmother, Lady Arista, asked Charlotte how she was feeling every ten minutes. My aunt Glenda, Charlotte’s mother, filled the ten-minute gap by asking the same thing in between Lady Arista’s interrogations.And whenever Charlotte said that she didn’t feel dizzy, Lady Arista’s lips tightened and Aunt Glenda sighed. Or sometimes the other way around.The rest of us—my mum, my sister Caroline, my brother Nick, and Great-aunt Maddy—rolled our eyes. Of course it was exciting to have someone with a time-travel gene in the family, but as the days went by, the excitement kind of wore off. Sometimes we felt that all the fuss being made over Charlotte was just too much.Charlotte herself usually hid her feelings behind a mysterious Mona Lisa smile. In her place, I wouldn’t have known whether to be excited or worried if dizzy feelings failed to show up. Well, to be honest, I’d probably have been pleased. I was more the timid sort. I liked peace and quiet.“Something will happen sooner or later,” Lady Arista said every day. “And we must be ready.”Sure enough, something did happen after lunch, in Mr. Whitman’s history class. I’d left the canteen feeling hungry. I’d found a black hair in my dessert—apple crumble with custard—and I couldn’t be sure if it was one of my own hairs or a lunch lady’s. Anyway, I didn’t fancy the crumble after that.Mr. Whitman gave us back the history test we’d taken last week. “You obviously prepared well for it. Especially Charlotte. An A-plus for you, Charlotte.”Charlotte stroked a strand of her glossy red hair back from her face and said, “Oh, my!” as if the result came as a surprise to her. Even though she always had top marks in everything.But Lesley and I were pleased with our own grades this time, too. We each had an A-minus, although our “preparation” had consisted of eating crisps and ice cream while we watched Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth and then Elizabeth: The Golden Age on DVD. We did pay attention in history class, though, which I’m afraid couldn’t be said for all our other courses.Mr. Whitman’s classes were so intriguing that you couldn’t help listening. Mr. Whitman himself was also very interesting. Most of the girls were secretly—or not so secretly—in love with him. So was our geography teacher, Mrs. Counter. She went bright red whenever Mr. Whitman passed her. And he was terribly good-looking. All the girls thought so, except Lesley. She thought Mr. Whitman looked like a cartoon squirrel.“Whenever he looks at me with those big brown eyes, I feel like giving him a nut,” she said. She even started calling the squirrels running around in the park Mr. Whitmans. The silly thing is that somehow it was infectious, and now, whenever a squirrel scuttled past me, I always said, “Oh, look at that cute, fat little Mr. Whitman!”I’m sure it was the squirrel business that made Lesley and me the only girls in the class who weren’t crazy about Mr. Whitman. I kept trying to fall in love with him (if only because the boys in our class were all somehow totally childish), but it was no good. The squirrel comparison had lodged itself in my mind and wouldn’t go away. I mean, how can you feel romantic about a squirrel?Cynthia had started the rumor that when he was studying, Mr. Whitman had worked as a male model on the side. By way of evidence, she’d cut an ad out of a glossy magazine, with a picture showing a man not unlike Mr. Whitman lathering himself with shower gel.Apart from Cynthia, however, no one thought Mr. Whitman was the man in the shower-gel ad. The model had a dimple in his chin, and Mr. Whitman didn’t.The boys in our class didn’t think Mr. Whitman was so great. Gordon Gelderman, in particular, couldn’t stand him. Because before Mr. Whitman came to teach in our school, all the girls in our class were in love with Gordon. Including me, I have to admit, but I was only eleven at the time and Gordon was still quite cute. Now, at sixteen, he was just stupid. And his voice had been in a permanent state of breaking for the last two years. Unfortunately, the mixture of squealing and growling still didn’t keep him from spewing nonsense all the time.He got very upset about getting an F on the history test. “That’s discrimination, Mr. Whitman. I deserve a B at least. You can’t give me bad marks just because I’m a boy.”Mr. Whitman took Gordon’s test back from him, turned a page, and read out, “Elizabeth I was so ugly that she couldn’t get a husband. So everyone called her the Ugly Virgin.”The class giggled.“Well? I’m right, aren’t I?” Gordon defended himself. “I mean, look at her pop-eyes and her thin lips and that weird hairstyle.”We’d gone to study the pictures of the Tudors in the National Portrait Gallery, and in those paintings, sure enough, Queen Elizabeth I didn’t look much like Cate Blanchett. But first, maybe people in those days thought thin lips and big noses were the last word in chic, and second, her clothes were really wonderful. Third, no, Elizabeth I didn’t have a husband, but she had a lot of affairs, among them one with Sir … oh, what was his name? Anyway, Clive Owen played him in the second film with Cate Blanchett.“She was known as the Virgin Queen,” Mr. Whitman told Gordon, “because…” He paused and looked anxiously at Charlotte. “Are you feeling all right, Charlotte? Do you have a headache?”Everyone looked at Charlotte, who had her head in her hands. “I feel … I just feel dizzy,” she said, looking at me. “Everything’s going round and round.”I took a deep breath. So here we go, I thought. Lady Arista and Aunt Glenda would be over the moon.“Wow, cool,” whispered Lesley. “Is she going to turn all transparent now?” Although Lady Arista had repeatedly told us that under no circumstances were we ever to tell any outsider what was special about our family, I’d decided to ignore the ban when it came to Lesley. After all, she was my very best friend, and best friends don’t have secrets from each other.Since I’d known Charlotte (which in fact was all my life), she’d always seemed somewhat helpless. But I knew what to do. Goodness knows Aunt Glenda had told me often enough.“I’ll take Charlotte home,” I told Mr. Whitman, as I stood up. “If that’s okay.”Mr. Whitman’s gaze was fixed on Charlotte. “I think that’s a good idea, Gwyneth,” he said. “I hope you feel better soon, Charlotte.”“Thanks,” said Charlotte. On the way to the door, she swayed slightly. “Coming, Gwenny?”I grabbed her arm. For the first time I felt quite important to Charlotte. It was a nice feeling to be needed for a change.“Don’t forget to phone and tell me all about it,” Lesley whispered as we passed her.Feeling slightly better outside the classroom, Charlotte wanted to fetch some things from her locker, but I held her firmly by the sleeve. “Not now, Charlotte! We have to get home as fast as possible. Lady Arista says—”“It’s gone again,” said Charlotte.“So? It could come back any moment.” Charlotte let me steer her the other way. “Where did I put that chalk?” As we walked on, I searched my jacket pocket. “Oh, good, here it is. And my mobile. Shall I call home? Are you scared? Silly question, sorry. I’m so excited.”“It’s okay. No, I’m not scared.”I glanced sideways at her to check whether she was telling the truth. She had that snooty little Mona Lisa smile on her face. You could never tell what she was hiding behind it.“Well, shall I call home?”“What use would that be?” Charlotte replied.“I just figured—”“You can leave the thinking to me, don’t worry,” said Charlotte.We went down the stone steps to the place where James always sat. He rose to his feet when he saw us, but I just smiled at him. The trouble with James was that no one else could see or hear him—only me.James was a ghost. Which is why I avoided talking to him when other people were around, except for Lesley. She’d never doubted James’s existence for a second. Lesley believed everything I said, and that was one of the reasons she was my best friend. She was only sorry she couldn’t see and hear James herself.But I was glad of it, because when James first set eyes on Lesley, he said, “Good heavens above, the poor child has more freckles than there are stars in the sky! If she doesn’t start using a good bleaching lotion at once, she’ll never catch herself a husband!”Whereas the first thing Lesley said when I introduced them to each other was “Ask him if he ever buried treasure anywhere.”Unfortunately James was not the treasure-burying type, and he was rather insulted that Lesley thought he might be. He was easily insulted.“Is he transparent?” Lesley had asked at that first meeting. “Or kind of black and white?”James looked just like anyone I’d ever met. Except for his clothes, of course.“Can you walk through him?”“I don’t know. I’ve never tried.”“Then try now,” Lesley suggested.James was not about to let me try that.“What does she mean, a ghost? The Honorable James Augustus Peregrine Pympoole-Bothame, heir to the fourteenth Earl of Hardsdale, is taking no insults from young girls!”Like so many ghosts, he refused to accept that he wasn’t alive anymore. Try as he might, he couldn’t remember dying. James and I had met five years ago, on my first day at St. Lennox High School, but to James it seemed only a few days ago that he was sitting in his club playing cards with friends and talking about horses, beauty spots, and wigs. (He wore both a beauty spot and a wig, but they looked better on him than you might think.) He completely ignored the fact that I’d grown several inches since we first met, had acquired breasts, and braces on my teeth, and had shed the braces again. He dismisssed the fact that his father’s grand town house had become a school with running water, electric light, and central heating. The only thing he did seem to notice from time to time was the ever-decreasing length of our school uniform skirts. Obviously girls’ legs and ankles hadn’t often been on show in his time.“It’s not very civil of a lady to walk past a highborn gentleman without a word, Miss Gwyneth,” he called after me now. He was deeply offended that I’d brushed past him.“Sorry. We’re in a hurry,” I said.“If I can help you in any way, I am, of course, entirely at your service,” James said, adjusting the lace on his cuffs.“I don’t think so, but thanks anyway. We just have to get home, fast.” As if James could possibly have helped in any way! He couldn’t even open a door. “Charlotte isn’t feeling well,” I explained.“I’m very sorry to hear it,” said James, who had a soft spot for Charlotte. Unlike “that ill-mannered girl with the freckles,” as he called Lesley, he thought my cousin was “delightful, a vision of beguiling charm.” Now he offered more of his flowery flattery. “Pray give her my best wishes. And tell her she looks as enchanting as ever. A little pale, but as captivating as a fairy.”“I’ll tell her,” I said, rolling my eyes.“If you don’t stop talking to your imaginary friend,” snapped Charlotte, “you’ll end up in the nuthouse.”Okay, then I wouldn’t tell her. She was conceited enough as it was.“James isn’t imaginary, just invisible. There’s a great difference.”“If you say so,” replied Charlotte. She and Aunt Glenda thought I just made up James and the other ghosts for attention. Now I was sorry I’d ever told Charlotte about them. As a small child, though, I couldn’t manage to keep my mouth shut about gargoyles coming to life—scrambling down the fronts of buildings before my very eyes and twisting their Gothic faces for me to see. The gargoyles were funny, but there were also some dark, grim-looking ghosts, and I was afraid of those. It took me a couple of years to realize that ghosts can’t hurt you. All they can really do to people is scare them.Not James, of course. He was not frightening in the least.“Lesley thinks it may be a good thing that James died young. With a name like Pympoole-Bothame, how would he ever have found a wife?” I said, after making sure James was out of hearing distance. “I mean, who’d marry a man with a name that sounds like Pimple-Bottom?”Charlotte rolled her eyes.“He’s not bad-looking,” I went on. “And he’s filthy rich too—if he’s telling the truth about his family. It’s just his habit of raising a perfumed lace hanky to his nose that doesn’t exactly make me swoon.”“What a shame there’s no one but you to admire him,” said Charlotte.I thought so myself.“And how stupid of you to talk about how weird you are outside the family,” added Charlotte.That was another of Charlotte’s typical digs. It was meant to hurt me, and as a matter of fact, it did.“I’m not weird!”“Of course you are!”“You’re a fine one to talk, gene carrier!”“Well, I don’t go blabbing on about it all over the place,” said Charlotte. “You’re like Great-aunt Mad Maddy. She even tells the postman about her visions.”“You’re a jerk.”“And you’re naive.”Still quarreling, we walked through the front hall, past the janitor’s glazed cubicle, and out into the school yard. The wind was picking up, and the ominous sky held the promise of rain. I wished we had grabbed our coats from our lockers.“Sorry I said that about you being like Great-aunt Maddy,” said Charlotte, suddenly sounding remorseful. “I’m excited, but I am a bit nervous as well.”I was surprised. Charlotte never apologized.“I know,” I replied almost too quickly. I wanted her to know that I appreciated her apology. But in reality, I couldn’t have been further from understanding how she felt. I’d have been scared out of my wits. In her shoes, I’d have been about as excited as if I were going to the dentist. “Anyway, I like Great-aunt Maddy,” I added. That was true. Great-aunt Maddy might be a bit talkative and inclined to say everything four times over, but I liked that a lot better than the mysterious way the others carried on. And Great-aunt Maddy was always very generous when it came to handing out sherbet lemons.But of course Charlotte didn’t like sweets.We crossed the road and hurried on along the pavement.“Don’t keep glancing at me sideways like that,” said Charlotte. “You’ll notice if I disappear, don’t worry. Then you’ll have to make your silly chalk mark on the pavement and hurry on home. But it’s not going to happen. Not today.”“How can you know? And don’t you wonder where you’ll end up? I mean, when you’ll end up?”“Yes, of course I do,” said Charlotte.“Let’s hope it’s not in the middle of the Great Fire of 1664.”“The Great Fire of London was in 1666,” said Charlotte. “That’s easy to remember. And at the time this part of the city wasn’t built up yet, so there’d have been hardly anything to burn here.”Did I say that Charlotte was also known as Spoilsport and Miss Know-it-all?But I wasn’t dropping the subject. It may have been mean of me, but I wanted to wipe the silly smile off her face, if only for a couple of seconds. “These school uniforms would probably burn like tinder,” I said casually.“I’d know what to do” was all Charlotte said, still smiling.I hated myself for admiring how cool she was right now. To me, the idea of suddenly landing in the past was totally terrifying.The past would have been awful, no matter what period you landed in. There was always some horrible thing lurking there—war, smallpox, the plague. If you said the wrong thing, you could be burnt as a witch. Plus, everyone had fleas, and you had to use chamber pots, which were tipped out of upstairs windows in the morning—even if someone was walking along the street below.But Charlotte had been carefully prepared to find her way around in the past from the time she should have been rocking dolls in her elegant arms. She’d never had time to play or make friends, go shopping, go to the cinema, or date boys. Instead she’d been taught dancing, fencing, and riding, foreign languages, and history. And since last year she’d been going out every Wednesday afternoon with Lady Arista and Aunt Glenda, and they didn’t come home until late in the evening. They called it an introduction to the mysteries. But no one—especially not Charlotte—would say what kind of mysteries.Her first sentence when she learnt to talk had probably been “It’s a secret.” Closely followed by “That’s none of your business.”Lesley always said our family must have more secrets than MI5 and MI6 put together. She was probably right.Normally we took the bus home from school. The number 8 stopped in Berkeley Square, and it wasn’t far from there to our house. Today we went the four stops on foot, as Aunt Glenda had told us we should when Charlotte had a dizzy spell. I kept my bit of chalk at the ready the whole time, but Charlotte never disappeared.As we went up the steps to our front door, I was somewhat disappointed, because this was where my part in the ordeal came to an end. Now my grandmother would take over, and I would once again be exiled from the world of mysteries.I tugged at Charlotte’s sleeve. “Look! The man in black is there again.”“So?” Charlotte didn’t even look around. The man was standing in the entrance of number 18, opposite. As usual, he wore a black trench coat and a hat pulled right down over his face. I’d taken him for a ghost until I realized that Nick, Caroline, and Lesley could see him too.He’d been keeping watch on our house almost around the clock for months. Or maybe there were several men who looked exactly the same taking turns. We argued about whether the man was a burglar casing the joint, a private detective, or a wicked magician. That last one was my sister’s theory, and she firmly believed in it. Caroline was nine and loved stories about wicked magicians and good fairies. My brother, Nick, was twelve and thought stories about magicians and fairies were silly, so he figured the man must be a burglar. Lesley and I backed the private detective.If we tried to cross the road for a closer look at the man, he would either disappear into the building behind him or slip into a black Bentley, which was always parked by the curb, and drive away.“It’s a magic car,” Caroline claimed. “It turns into a raven when no one’s looking. And the magician turns into a tiny little man and rides through the air on the raven’s back.”Nick had made a note of the Bentley’s license plate, just in case. “Although they’re sure to paint the car after the burglary and fit a new license plate,” he said.The grown-ups acted as if they saw nothing suspicious about being watched day and night by a man wearing a hat and dressed entirely in black.Nor did Charlotte. “What’s biting you lot about the poor man? He’s just standing there to smoke a cigarette, that’s all.”“Oh, really?” I was more likely to believe the story about the enchanted raven.It had started raining. We reached home not a moment too soon.“Do you at least feel dizzy again?” I asked as we waited for the door to be opened. We didn’t have our own front-door keys.“Just leave me alone,” said Charlotte. “It will happen when the time comes.”Mr. Bernard opened the door for us. Lesley said Mr. Bernard was our butler and the ultimate proof that we were almost as rich as the Queen or Madonna. But I didn’t know exactly who or what Mr. Bernard really was. To Mum, he was “Grandmother’s lackey,” but Lady Arista called him “an old family friend.” To Caroline and Nick and me, he was simply Lady Arista’s rather weird manservant.At the sight of us, his eyebrows shot up.“Hello, Mr. Bernard,” I said. “Nasty weather.”“Very nasty.” With his hooked nose and brown eyes behind his round, gold-rimmed glasses, Mr. Bernard always reminded me of an owl. “You really ought to wear your coats when you leave the house on a day like this.”“Er … yes, we ought to,” I said.“Where’s Lady Arista?” asked Charlotte. She was never particularly polite to Mr. Bernard. Perhaps because, unlike the rest of us, she hadn’t felt any awe of him when she was a child. Although, and this really was awe-inspiring, he seemed able to materialize out of nowhere right behind you in any part of the house, moving as quietly as a cat. Nothing got past Mr. Bernard, and he always seemed to be on the alert for something.Mr. Bernard had been with us since before I was born, and Mum said he had been there when she was still a little girl. That made Mr. Bernard almost as old as Lady Arista, even if he didn’t look it. He had his own rooms on the second floor, with a separate corridor in which we children were forbidden even to set foot.My brother, Nick, said Mr. Bernard had built-in trapdoors and elaborate alarm systems up there, so that he could watch out for unwelcome visitors, but Nick couldn’t prove it. None of us had ever dared to venture into the out-of-bounds area.“Mr. Bernard needs his privacy,” Lady Arista often said.“How right,” said Mum. “I think we could all of us do with some of that.” But she said it so quietly that Lady Arista didn’t hear her.“Your grandmother is in the music room,” Mr. Bernard informed Charlotte.“Thank you.” Charlotte left us in the hall and went upstairs. The music room was on the first floor, and no one knew why it was called that. There wasn’t even a piano in it.The music room was Lady Arista’s and Great-aunt Maddy’s favorite place. It smelled of faded violet perfume and the stale smoke of Lady Arista’s cigarillos. The stuffy room wasn’t aired nearly often enough, and staying in it for too long made you feel drowsy.Mr. Bernard closed the front door. I took one more quick look past him at the other side of the street. The man with the hat was still there. Was I wrong, or was he just raising his hand almost as if he were waving to someone? Mr. Bernard, maybe, or even me?The door closed, and I couldn’t follow that train of thought any longer because my stomach suddenly flipped again, as if I were on a roller coaster. Everything blurred before my eyes. My knees gave way, and I had to lean against the wall to keep from falling down.But as quickly as it had come on, the feeling was gone.My heart was thumping like crazy. There must be something wrong with me. Without being on an actual carnival ride, you couldn’t possibly feel dizzy this often without something being terribly wrong.Unless … oh, nonsense! I was probably just growing too fast. Or I had … I had a brain tumor? Or maybe, I thought, brushing that nasty notion aside, it was only that I was hungry.Yes, that must be it. I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. My lunch had landed on my blouse. I breathed a sigh of relief.Only then did I notice Mr. Bernard’s owlish eyes looking attentively at me.“Whoops,” he said, a little too late.I felt myself blushing. “I’ll … I’ll go and do my homework,” I muttered.Mr. Bernard just nodded casually. But as I climbed the stairs, I could feel his eyes on my back. Back from Durham, where I visited Lord Montrose’s younger daughter, Grace Shepherd, whose daughter was unexpectedly born the day before yesterday. We are all delighted to record the birth ofGwyneth Sophie Elizabeth Shepherd5 lbs 8 oz., 20 in.Mother and child both doing well.Heartfelt congratulations to our Grand Master on the birth of his fifth grandchild.FROM THE ANNALS OF THE GUARDIANS10 OCTOBER 1994REPORT: THOMAS GEORGE, INNER CIRCLE Text copyright © 2011 by Kerstin Gier

Editorial Reviews

"Humorous, romantic and suspenseful, the plot is fast-paced and impossible to put down . . . . The final romantic cliffhanger will leave you thirsty for the next book in this 'jewel' of a series." -Justine magazine"Sixteen-year-old Londoner Gwyneth Shepherd comes from a family of time travelers. The gene was supposed to have skipped Gwen, but sneaks up on her unexpectedly in the middle of class one day and hurls her way back to the 18th century, where she meets an insufferable-turns-lovable time-traveling boy named Gideon. " -TeenVogue.com"Gier succeeds on her own terms, keeping the reader moving along, forward and backward in time, and ending with a revelation and a cliffhanger. Both will leave readers anticipating the publication of the next installment, 'Sapphire Blue.'" -The New York Times Book Review"What makes this such a standout is the intriguingly drawn cast, stars and supporting players both, beginning with Gwen, whose key feature is her utter normality. Adventure, humor, and mystery all have satisfying roles here." -Starred, Booklist"The characters in Kerstin Gier's stellar story come fully to life, and veteran translator Anthea Bell (who translated Cornelia Funke's Inkheart books) preserves the book's abundant humor . . . . There's something here for everyone." -Shelf Awareness"Teen readers will be eager to find out what happens to Gwen and Gideon in their next adventures, to be revealed in the second book of the trilogy, Sapphire Blue, followed by Emerald Green." -BookPage"Gier's romantic story is an excellent opportunity to explore fashions of the past, if nothing else, but it's also a page-turner that will have you wanting to learn German so you don't have to wait for the next translation to be published." -Channel One.com"As she narrates this fast-paced puzzler, Gwen convincingly conveys the bewilderment, fear and excitement of a teen rooted in the present but catapulted from her school-girl routine into the past. Bell's deft translation captures an engaging heroine with a cell phone and a sense of humor, an emerging romance and a complex, unresolved time-travel mystery spanning four centuries." -Kirkus Reviews"This first installment of a trilogy will soon find a new crop of fans in the United States. It's a fun, engaging read that will be an easy sell for teens wanting to time travel with a delightful narrator." -School Library Journal"The first in a trilogy, Ruby Red offers romance, adventure, small details of various eras, and the complications that families can bring. It will mostly appeal to teenage girls who have a preference for reading romance." -VOYA".Gier's characters and plotting are first-rate, creating an adventure that should leave readers eager for the rest of the trilogy." -Publishers Weekly"A smart, entertaining read . . . Gwen, an outsider in her own family, is the perfect spunky, skeptical heroine." -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"An extremely appetizing mix of mystery thriller, science fiction and romantic adventure that readers will most likely devour in one sitting." -Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung"Thrilling and witty." -Radio Bremen"Guaranteed to be addictive." -Badische Neueste Nachrichten"As soon as you have managed to open this wonderful book, you won't want to close it anymore! Superbly romantic, witty and--thank God--only the first part of this emotional time travel trilogy." -Daisuki"A sophisticated and adventurous fantasy story with a sense of humor." -Nordbayerischer Kurier"Bestselling author Kerstin Gier has written a romantic and funny story that will captivate readers until the very end. Truly mesmerizing." -Kölnische Rundschau"Exciting fantasy with lots of wordplay and a pinch of romance. Now the impatient waiting for Volume Two will start." -Westfälische Nachrichten"The very finest reading stuff." -Buchmarkt