My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First, I admit I’m approaching this book as a scholar of religion and theology.
L’Engle has taken a very obscure little chunk of the biblical book of Genesis—the first book in the Bible—and has filled these verses (6:1–8) in with imagination and fantasy.
The main characters of this book are Sandy and Dennys, who are transported back to the time of the Noah and his family. They are surrounded by seraphim (good angels) and nephalim (angels who have rejected El, which is the Hebrew word for ‘God’) and friendly mammoths and vanishing unicorns.
But I hesitate to call the book ‘Christian fiction’, because while its author was a devout Episcopalian Christian, there’s nothing preachy about the book at all. The first time I read it was when I was…maybe nine? That was before I knew anything at all about Christianity, having been raised in a pagan family. I don’t remembering being turned off at that time. Here I am three decades later, an Anglican priest, and it was still not preachy—like that time when one of the twins says that if El would let one of their friends die in the flood, then he did not like El much.
The choice of the two main characters is also a strength. After the first three books I was a bit tired of Meg with her mousy brown hair and drama and Charles Wallace with his enormous intellect and inability to connect to regular people. Sandy and Dennys are smart but practical, they get human interactions in a way their siblings do not.
So read the book and enjoy that the author can step out of her previous pathways. Enjoy her use of of other characters. Enjoy that this book is much more settled in one place and time than the previous three books.