An Acceptable Time

by Madeleine L'Engle
Series: The Time Quintet #5
224 pages, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Jeanne

Good read with some worrisome spiritual content.


Polly O'Keefe is on vacation visiting her mother's parents on Halloween. Her vacation and her life are turned upside down, however, when the Bishop Colubra opens what he calls a 'time gate' and sends her, and her sickly friend Zachary, three thousand years back in time.


Polly breaks several promises to her grandparents, but is always sorry. Zachary is self-centered and two characters are unforgiving, but all bad behavior is portrayed as wrong and corrected.

Spiritual Content

The druids of three thousand years ago worship The Presence, portrayed as God, but also call the earth 'The Mother'. Goddesses are mentioned as well. Samhain, or All Hallow's Eve, is called a powerful day by the druids. The spiritual content seems to come back around to God, but is still confusing and has strong resemblances to New Age philosophy.


There are two battles, neither of which described graphically. Polly helps to set a man's broken leg and a concussion is mentioned. Through the latter half of the book it is made clear that Polly is to be sacrificed as a blood offering to 'The Mother' to bring rain.

Drug and Alcohol Content


Sexual Content

Chaste kisses here and there, embraces.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Zachary says 'zug' and 'bloody zug'. Otherwise, none.


'An Acceptable Time' is a page-turner. The plot is exciting, the characters interesting, and the philosophy thoughtful. However, the spiritual content is worrisome and the book is probably not ideally suited for young readers. If you enjoy fantasies and time travel, you'll enjoy this book, but it should be read with care and understanding.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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