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A time travel story that is both a poignant exploration of human identity and an absorbing tale of suspenseIt's natural to feel a little out of place when you're the new girl but when Charlotte Makepeace wakes up after her first night at boarding school she's baffled everyone thinks she's a girl called Clare Mobley and even shockingly it seems she has traveled forty years back in time to 1918 In the months to follow Charlotte wakes alternately in her own time and in Clare's And instead of having only one new set of rules to learn she also has to contend with the unprecedented strangeness of being an entirely new person in an era she knows nothing about Her teachers think she's slow the other girls find her odd and as she spends and time in 1918 Charlotte starts to wonder if she remembers how to be Charlotte at all If she doesn't figure out some way to get back to the world she knows before the end of the term she might never have another chance


10 thoughts on “Charlotte Sometimes

  1. says:

    I will fully admit that I didn't discover this book in the traditional wayI have to admit to being a HUGE fan of the Cure Yup That's 80's uasi gothy band lead by Robert Smith What can I say I've always liked boys in makeupOne of my favorite songs by the Cure was always Charlotte Sometimes I didn't have a clue that the song title was taken from a book and that lines from the book were used in the song as well as in the song The Empty World She talked about the armies that marched inside her headI had just graduated from high school and was working at a Girl Scout summer camp in Vermont They had a large building with a stage that had the back wall covered in bookshelves It was a rainy day so the councilors were letting the kids run amok in the building Me being bored to tears by the rain and driven crazy by the kids running amok decided to check out the bookshelvesThe title Charlotte Sometimes caught my eye and grabbed the book to read in my tent laterOnce I read the book and fell in love with it I had to get my own copy so I could share it with all of my Cure loving friends It's still one of my favorite books and it still puts me in the mood to listen to the Cure


  2. says:

    Charlotte Makepeace starts at boarding school I am guessing sometime in the 1950s To add to her troubles of fitting in at a new school she finds that she is changing places on alternate days with a girl who was alive during the first world war Charlotte is confused and starts to wonder who she really isThis is a beautifully written book very thoughtful and philosophical I am very sorry not to have read it as a child but hugely enjoyed reading it aloud to my daughter and discussing the story's ideas Although we have read many books about children in World War II this was the first we had read about the first war and felt this was sensitively written describing the family devastated by the loss of their son and how he had always dreampt of the glory of war and found the reality much different The story takes some interesting twists and turns and gives you lots to think about


  3. says:

    Great fun I’d have adored this when I was 9 10 11 My 10 year old self gives this 5 full stars If I wasn’t so in touch with my 10 year old self I might have given this only 4 stars but it’s a completely delightful and smart storyIt’s very suspenseful It’s a fun meld of speculative fiction and historical fiction Some aspects are ingenious It was fun to try to figure out who one particular character wasCharlotte is a wonderful character and I was particularly fond of Emily The mostly absent Clare was fascinating too As a kid I would have loved putting myself in Charlotte’s place and in Emily’s place and it was interesting even now Wonderful story of one’s identity and exactly what that means of boarding school of details about WWI and the late 1950s too This is a skillfully told story compelling from beginning to end and very touching throughoutWhen I was a kid I used to love this author’s book The Summer Birds; I’m so glad I read this one for the Goodreads’ group A Thrilling Term at Goodreads The Girls’ School Story Group


  4. says:

    I would have loved this book to bits when I was ten years old It has so many good things in it time travel boarding school some nice historical facts possibly a few ghostsall good fun Reading it now though it is uite clearly a children's book not YA and as such is a little bland and lacking in real action So for me this was an excellent children's book well written and entertaining although of course also old fashioned


  5. says:

    I never heard of Penelope Farmer prior to reading Charlotte Sometimes but now I want to track down all her books and read them Charlotte Sometimes is her most famous novel and even has a song based on it by The Cure Charlotte Makepeace is sent to an English boarding school in 1958 Every other day she wakes up to find that it is 1918 and everyone thinks she is Clare Mobley – even Clare’s sister Emily When Charlotte as Clare is sent to board with a family in town she becomes trapped in 1918 World War I is an important part of the book CharlotteClare stays with a family that has lost their only son in the war Charlotte sees the wounded soldiers returning from the war the prejudice and cruelty of the boarding school girls toward a student that is half German spies on a séance that her boarding family holds hoping to contact their dead son and celebrates Armistice Day I’m attaching a link to a video of The Cure’s song Charlotte Sometimes The first part of the video reminds me of the creepy front cover of the bookhttpswwwyoutubecomwatch?vWih15


  6. says:

    A wonderful and unusual time travel story Another one that I missed as a child and was glad to find as an adult


  7. says:

    I’ve recently read “Charlotte Sometimes” if for no other reason than to compare The Cure lyrics of their classic song Charlotte Sometimes to parts of the children’s fantasy This is what I learned and it’s very interesting Spoiler Alter All the faces All the voices blurChange to one face Change to one voiceFirst sentence By bedtime all the faces the voices had blurred for Charlotte to one face one voice Prepare yourself for bedSecond sentence She prepared herself for bed The light seems bright And glares on white wallsBook 2nd paragraph 6th sentence The light seemed to bright for them glaring on white walls All the sounds ofBook 4th paragraph 4th sentence All the sounds about her Charlotte sometimesInto the night withCharlotte sometimesBook 5th paragraph 1st sentence She must have slept at last Night after night she lay alone in bedHer eyes so open to the darkPart II chapter 4 1st sentence Night after night Charlotte lay in bed with her eyes open to the dark The streets all looked so strangeThey seemed so far awayBut Charlotte did not cryPart II chapter 4 paragraph 15 1st sentence The streets looked strange The people seemed so closePlaying expressionless gamesPart II chapter 2 paragraph 24 3rd sentence Charlotte on the other hand became absorbed concentrating wholly on her fingers’ easing The people seemed so closeSo many other namesPart II chapter 2 paragraph 37 “Good night Mr Chisel Brown” she said with almost a curtsy “Good night Mrs Chisel Brown Good night Miss Agnes Chisel Brown Good night cat Good night dog ” When all the other people dance Reference to school danceExpressionless the trance Reference to séance So many different names Reference to names of Brown familyThe sounds all stay the same Reference to airplane sounds overheadOn a different world Past where Charlotte travels On that bleak trackSee the sun is gone againThe tears were pouring down her faceShe was crying and crying for a girlWho died so many years before Part III chapter 2 paragraph 53 1st sentence On that bleak track the sun almost gone again tears were pouring down her face She was crying and crying for a girl for a girl who had died than 40 years before Charlotte sometimes crying for herselfPart III chapter 7 paragraph 13 last sentence She began crying bitterly could not stop Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herselfPart III chapter 7 paragraph 10 1st sentence She dreamed she stood below the picture The Mark of the Beast and there were soldiers all around her in red uniforms stiff as toys but tall as men There were dolls too like Miss Agnes’s doll as tall as the soldiers Glass sealed and prettyPart III chapter 7 paragraph 15 4th sentence And when she looked at the wall at the picture glass it looked uite empty as if a mirror hung there not a picture at allTwo other songs by The Cure Splintered in Her Head and The Empty World are based on “Charlotte Sometimes” You can check out my analysis of those lyrics on my blog wwwAndrewBargerblogspotcom Thanks


  8. says:

    45 STARSPenelope Farmer is an author who captured the mysterious emotions of children their uneasy relationships and the sometimes terrifying awareness of their encompassing worlds Ruth Hill Viguers Horn BookCharlotte Sometimes is an intensely thoughtful emotional story about Charlotte Makepeace a young teenager attending boarding school in about 1950 in the English countryside When she falls asleep in her new dormitory in a strange bed with wheels she awakens to find herself in the autumn of 1918 in the same dormitory in the last months of WWI She learns that she has traded places with someone called Clare Moby As Clare and Charlotte sleep they trade places back and forth between the times They are ostensibly so alike that no one notices they are not the same person Clare thinks of keeping a journal so they can communicate with one another She also urges Charlotte to be kind to Clare's younger sister Emily But Emily is keenly observant and soon realizes that the Clare who sometimes awakens in the bed is not her sister Clare Emily helps Charlotte make sense of the world in 1918 and they form a strong bond when after the school dorms are used to house influenza victims the Moby girls are sent to stay with the Chisel Browns Mr and Mrs Chisel Brown are coping poorly and in diverse ways with the recent death of their son who was killed on the front Their spinster daughter Agnes however takes to Emily and Charlotte and helps make their time there pleasant Yet being away from the dorm at the school means that Charlotte and Clare can no longer switch places Charlotte goes from being Charlotte sometimes to being Clare all the time Will Charlotte ever get back to her own time and to being herself?It is very difficult for me to write a review of this book I loved so many things about it It is written in such a thoughtful engaging and lovely way The prose is never too complex but it does a fine job conveying a sense of atmosphere era and the essence of the characters I especially appreciated Charlotte's introspective nature her internal battle to remain Charlotte to find courage and to understand bravery And her external battle to keep Emily happy to be kind and good and to understand the world she found herself so strangely thrust into I am not sure this is the sort of story that will appeal to many young readers these days unfortunately It is was sadly out of print but I understand it has recently been reprinted and I hope those readers young and old who seek a thoughtful and engaging story will seek it out I think it might appeal to fans of L M Montgomery who enjoy introspective heroines and this era in historyThis is apparently one of three books about Charlotte and her sister Emma in the Avery Hall series the other two being The Summer Birdsand Emma in Winter I have not read the other books and do not feel my appreciation suffered in conseuence I think it could be read as a stand aloneThose looking for other thoughtful time travel stories about a girl transported to an earlier time of war might also like The Root Cellar Canadian girl transported to the Civil WarJanuary selection with Girls' School Story Group


  9. says:

    I enjoyed every single page A story which plays the time slip genre with great maturity A story of a young girl finding her identity by losing it The relationship between Charlotte and Emily was so intense I'm really moved by the sense of change and loss


  10. says:

    A uiet time travel book Thirteen year old Charlotte goes to bed in the oldest bed in her new boarding school in 1958 Not the same story but I do love Eleanor Bron and wakes up in the same bed in the school infirmary of 1918 with everyone calling her ClareFarmer handles the history and the time shift beautifully and Charlotte is a thoughtful likable heroine who's given a lot to ponder here Because Farmer wrote the novel when WWI was still part of living memory she comfortably includes a wealth of period detail from séances to neglected oriental gardens to spillikens As several other reviewers have said already ten year old me would have loved itNot as dramatic or sentimental as A Little Princess which the author clearly admired But Charlotte's not that kind of girl anyway