To Say Nothing of the Dog

Written by: Connie Willis

To Say Nothing of the Dog Book Cover
Connie Willis' Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Doomsday Book uses time travel for a serious look at how people connect with each other. In this Hugo-winning companion to that novel, she offers a completely different kind of time travel adventure: a delightful romantic comedy that pays hilarious homage to Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat.

When too many jumps back to 1940 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But complexities like recalcitrant rowboats, missing cats, and love at first sight make Ned's holiday anything but restful - to say nothing of the way hideous pieces of Victorian art can jeopardize the entire course of history.
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To Say Nothing of the Dog Reviews

Corinna
Many people know that Three Men in a Boat: to Say Nothing of the Dog! is probably my favorite book. What many people don't necessarily know is that I first read it because I bought a very old copy of it at a book sale, and the reason I bought it was because I had read Have Space Suit-Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, (to whom To Say Nothing of the Dogis dedicated) in which the main character, Kip, interrupts his father as he is reading HIS favorite book, Three Men in a Boat, in which, he claims Many people know that Three Men in a Boat: to Say Nothing of the Dog! is probably my favorite book. What many people don't necessarily know is that I first read it because I bought a very old copy of it at a book sale, and the reason I bought it was because I had read Have Space Suit-Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, (to whom To Say Nothing of the Dogis dedicated) in which the main character, Kip, interrupts his father as he is reading HIS favorite book, Three Men in a Boat, in which, he claims, all of life's lessons can be found.

I think To Say Nothing of the Dog would be fine to read if you'd never read any of Jerome K. Jerome's writing, but I think a familiarity with his work makes this book even more fun to read. The little summaries of action at the start of each chapter, the many references to Jerome's book (and even his person!) during the first part of the book, and even to some degree the measured, deliberate pacing of the book all stand as tribute to Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog.

Of course this book does have it's own wacky men, it's own wacky (if short-lived) boat trip and it's own dog with a unique personality (albeit calmer than that of Montmorency!). I also appreciated that there is a cat who is quite a pivotal character - I take this to be another wink at the Heinlein fans reading - that man had such a thing for cats in his writing.

As for the story itself, there is a great deal of time travel, which can be a head-scratcher, and there are some unique rules for it in this book, but overall, I thought it was highly interesting and enjoyable. I might need to read it again to really get all the twists and turns, however. I did get annoyed by the main characters' total inability to discern who Mr. C was, but I think that we were perhaps meant to figure that out well ahead of the protagonists.
Mike
The Seasonal Reading Challenge Task 25.1 - Perletwo's Task: The Ides of March are Come
Book 2 (Option 3): To Say Nothing of the Dog. Author Connie Willis' initials in "BEWARE" and "MARCH"
...and, for SFFBC 2018 TBR Challenge, this is a book with humor. Humour. A tonne of humor. The victorian equivalent of the the modern Monkey Butt Tonne of Humour.
Veeral
As you might have guessed from the name of this book, it was written as an homage to Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome and thankfully, it is as funny.

But the thing that impressed me most was the amount of restraint shown by Connie Willis. Here you are, writing a time travel story, and you have all the options open to you. Kill Hitler! Kill Anakin Skywalker! But nope! Willis does it her own way and she has a different and a more interesting story to tell. Although the book does not dwell m As you might have guessed from the name of this book, it was written as an homage to Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome and thankfully, it is as funny.

But the thing that impressed me most was the amount of restraint shown by Connie Willis. Here you are, writing a time travel story, and you have all the options open to you. Kill Hitler! Kill Anakin Skywalker! But nope! Willis does it her own way and she has a different and a more interesting story to tell. Although the book does not dwell more on the time travel aspect, whenever it does, Willis had made sure not to get carried away with it. So as a result, To Say Nothing of the Dog does not come out as a time travel adventure that is trying too hard to make itself interesting and exciting enough.

The character development is amazing (a thing that is quite rare in time travelling stories) and even though this book could be basically classified as science fiction, I am sure fans of historical fiction and even romantic fiction would also love it.

And oh, there is even a cat that plays a quite important role, to say nothing of the dog.

4 Stars.
A Tramp Abroad :: Pericles/Cymbeline/The Two Noble Kinsmen :: Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays :: Over Sea, Under Stone :: A Shooting Star
Randy
This time travel homage to Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (recommended but not required reading) is really a sweet rom-com in disguise. The science is nothing more than fluff and the time-traveling incongruities will make your head spin, so the laughs aren't as out of place as they were in the much more serious Doomsday Book. Also like its predecessor - and much like a holiday trip to the in-laws' - there's plenty of rambling conversation and unnecessary drama and the whole thing lasts This time travel homage to Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (recommended but not required reading) is really a sweet rom-com in disguise. The science is nothing more than fluff and the time-traveling incongruities will make your head spin, so the laughs aren't as out of place as they were in the much more serious Doomsday Book. Also like its predecessor - and much like a holiday trip to the in-laws' - there's plenty of rambling conversation and unnecessary drama and the whole thing lasts a bit too long.
Chris
Good book with a nice swift pace and engaging plot. I enjoyed the characters and even chuckled here and there at their misadventures. Dogs, cats, and butlers are all entertaining. I would probably read another Willis book at this point, perhaps Doomsday Book at some point down the road.
Melissa McShane
I've decided I do better with audiobooks when I'm familiar with the text, so I picked this one for my last audiobook. It was just as delightful as I remembered--funny, clever, with interesting characters and a compelling plot. It's been about ten years since I read it last, but I remembered so many details, and loved seeing the places where Willis foreshadows later plot points. Also, is there a nod to My Man Godfrey in how (view spoiler)[Bain dumps Tossie in the river (hide spoiler)]? I'd like t I've decided I do better with audiobooks when I'm familiar with the text, so I picked this one for my last audiobook. It was just as delightful as I remembered--funny, clever, with interesting characters and a compelling plot. It's been about ten years since I read it last, but I remembered so many details, and loved seeing the places where Willis foreshadows later plot points. Also, is there a nod to My Man Godfrey in how (view spoiler)[Bain dumps Tossie in the river (hide spoiler)]? I'd like to think there is.
Dean
Probably 2.5 stars for me, but I couldn't get excited about picking this book up while reading it.

Described as hilarious by many? Maybe slightly amusing in places, but felt like it was trying too hard sometimes. Oh, and a number of the time travel elements didn't work for me either.
Gabi
The story itself would perhaps been only three stars, cause particularly in comparison with the first book of the Oxford Time Travels it lacks ... well ...story, plus there's a lot of weird cause-effect explanation in the end.
BUT (and it's a big but), Willis is a master in writing witty dialogues. This has me in awe. The banter, the hilarious twists and turns are so crisp and delightful, that I was grinning the whole time. I guess, I would even read the phone book written by her, as long as she The story itself would perhaps been only three stars, cause particularly in comparison with the first book of the Oxford Time Travels it lacks ... well ...story, plus there's a lot of weird cause-effect explanation in the end.
BUT (and it's a big but), Willis is a master in writing witty dialogues. This has me in awe. The banter, the hilarious twists and turns are so crisp and delightful, that I was grinning the whole time. I guess, I would even read the phone book written by her, as long as she brings along those crazy, nerdy Oxford historians. Plus, any book, that actually makes me like a bulldog, deserves a fourth star.
Melissa
Connie Willis is just like a sci-fi P.G. Wodehouse! I mean, when she's writing the funny time-travel stuff, not the dramatic time-travel stuff where she kills, like, everyone, and breaks your heart. Thankfully, my heart remained unbroken this time & I laughed out loud many, many times (scream-let!) - why, oh why did I let this sit on my to-read table for such a shamefully long time?
Linda
I completely LOVED this book! It had so many elements that were right up my alley - the fun of time travel, a Victorian England setting, humor, cat and dog characters, all wrapped up in a mystery to be solved. The audio book narrated by Steven Crossley was perfect, including the kitty meows. :D

As an aside, I'm curious how many times the phrase "bishop's bird stump" was said. ha ha.

And on another note, I now want a kitten so I can name him Pen Wiper.

And finally, I really need to start reading som I completely LOVED this book! It had so many elements that were right up my alley - the fun of time travel, a Victorian England setting, humor, cat and dog characters, all wrapped up in a mystery to be solved. The audio book narrated by Steven Crossley was perfect, including the kitty meows. :D

As an aside, I'm curious how many times the phrase "bishop's bird stump" was said. ha ha.

And on another note, I now want a kitten so I can name him Pen Wiper.

And finally, I really need to start reading some mysteries.

Actually, there are a lot of random thoughts going through my head, but I'll leave it at that.
Poiema
This book is a literary delight, a time-travel escapade largely taking place in England's Victorian era but sometimes bouncing forward to air raids in the 1940s or even further on to the mid 21st century. Artifacts and accoutrements of one era sometimes appear hilariously superfluous in another era, and the search for a lost bird stump vase (I had to Google for an image) becomes a mystery to unravel. The mystery is woven with threads from Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie and Wilkie Collins's w This book is a literary delight, a time-travel escapade largely taking place in England's Victorian era but sometimes bouncing forward to air raids in the 1940s or even further on to the mid 21st century. Artifacts and accoutrements of one era sometimes appear hilariously superfluous in another era, and the search for a lost bird stump vase (I had to Google for an image) becomes a mystery to unravel. The mystery is woven with threads from Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie and Wilkie Collins's writings + there are references to so many other familiar works of literature, not the least of which was Jerome's _Three Men in a Boat._. I imagine the book would not be nearly so much fun without having some knowledge of those works.

You will love the dog, but really a CAT has a larger role to play in the story. Cat lover that I am, I was glad the protagonists were able to sneak a cat through to the future, where they were otherwise extinct!

Great fun I had reading this book: humor, history, literature, and a dash of romance all rolled up into one happy read.
Edwin Priest
If you are looking for a wonderful romp through Victorian England that incorporates time travel, a bulldog, arcane church artifacts, historical snippets about Waterloo, butlers and maids, WWII air raids, genteel Victorian romance, goldfish, séances, and a plethora of literary references , Connie Willis delivers it here in spades.

On the surface, To Say Nothing of the Dog is book about a group of time-travelling historians who travel back to 18th century Victorian England to collect artifacts need If you are looking for a wonderful romp through Victorian England that incorporates time travel, a bulldog, arcane church artifacts, historical snippets about Waterloo, butlers and maids, WWII air raids, genteel Victorian romance, goldfish, séances, and a plethora of literary references , Connie Willis delivers it here in spades.

On the surface, To Say Nothing of the Dog is book about a group of time-travelling historians who travel back to 18th century Victorian England to collect artifacts needed for a future rebuilding of Canterbury Cathedral. But things don’t go as planned. At its’ heart, this book plays on how time travel, either by deliberation or by accident, can alter the course of history.

Now, we have certainly seen this idea before (probably most overtly with the not too recent movie The Butterfly Effect), but Willis takes it a step further. She introduces the concept of a time continuum that is innately resilient, resilient such that self-adjustments will be made to counteract any events and actions that disrupt the normal flow, thereby maintaining time's intended course. Central to this book are Willis’ constructs of “incongruities” and “slippages” which represent the overt manifestations of these corrections. These “incongruities” and “slippage” get masterfully woven into the story as a series of inter-connected occurrences that become in many ways the story itself.

Willis serves it all up like a delicious murder-mystery, throwing us little conversations, events and observations that, Sherlock Holmes style, become the clues needed to solve a bigger puzzle. It is all quite brilliant.

And throughout, she interweaves literary references, to Arthur Conan Doyle, to Agatha Christie, to Wilke Collins, to P.G Wodehouse, and of course to Jerome K. Jerome, with the nod to Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog. There are historical musings and tidbits, to Waterloo, WWII, and English monarchial history; there are geographic references, to Oxford and the Thames; there is commentary on Victorian culture and mores; there are romantic trysts, all properly decorous; and there is an abundance of classic British irony and wit.

My only complaint, if there must be one, is that the story does at times drag, which is a minor quibble to this otherwise brilliant book. 4-1/2 stars, which I will easily round up to 5.

Finally, Steven Crossley did the narration for the audio book version and was absolutely perfect for it. Highly recommended.
Zaz
A well written novel, with time travel, Victorian England society, humor and pets.

What a nice read, I'm happy several persons here recommended this one to me, over Doomsday (which I'll read next year)! The story was interesting and well crafted with various things to follow and discover, and I even enjoyed the fact that the "twists" were pretty obvious early. The characters were all likable and had distinct personalities, which was nice, and it was entertaining to follow them in Victorian Englan A well written novel, with time travel, Victorian England society, humor and pets.

What a nice read, I'm happy several persons here recommended this one to me, over Doomsday (which I'll read next year)! The story was interesting and well crafted with various things to follow and discover, and I even enjoyed the fact that the "twists" were pretty obvious early. The characters were all likable and had distinct personalities, which was nice, and it was entertaining to follow them in Victorian England. The addition of a cat and a dog was great, as I like animals and as they were used in a cute way and also had their own personalities. The humor was omnipresent, but in a subtle way as it was entertwined with the events, another great point of the book. Overall, I'm very pleased to have discovered a good new author and a pleasant series mixing nicely time travel, fiction, romance and humor. I'm looking forward to another travel.
Davyne DeSye
This is another WOW from Connie Willis. I have long had Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book on my favorites list as it is a fabulous time-travel story – time-travel stories are always among my favorites, and The Doomsday Book was one of the best. I had no idea until recently that The Doomsday Book was book one in a series.

To Say Nothing of the Dog is book two in the Oxford Time Travel Series. While The Doomsday Book was a bit dark (not to be helped with the subject matter being the Black Death), To Sa This is another WOW from Connie Willis. I have long had Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book on my favorites list as it is a fabulous time-travel story – time-travel stories are always among my favorites, and The Doomsday Book was one of the best. I had no idea until recently that The Doomsday Book was book one in a series.

To Say Nothing of the Dog is book two in the Oxford Time Travel Series. While The Doomsday Book was a bit dark (not to be helped with the subject matter being the Black Death), To Say Nothing of the Dog is rather humorous. Set partly in Victorian England (1888) and partly during the bombing of Coventry in 1940 (and, of course, partly in Oxford in 2057 when we have learned how to engage in time travel), this novel bounces the reader around quite a bit, and the strange happenings often had me laughing out loud. At the same time, all the disparate threads of the story (which the reader cannot imagine all coming together into a coherent whole) are brilliantly threaded together by the end into a stunning conclusion that almost took my breath away.

Then, to top off some excellent storytelling, I closed the book and found myself pondering the themes... those of whether there is a Grand Design (which keeps time travel from destroying the world) or free will... or, the even better answer: There are both – and both are necessary. Hmm. Pretty heavy stuff for what comes across as a humorous (sometimes even slapstick) book.

Absolutely wonderful. I will be reading this again... but not before I read the next book in the series!
Melanti
All of the Peter Whimsy references were making me cringe! I was worried she'd give away the mystery like she did with The Moonstone. Granted, it's been more than 80 years since they were published, but I'm just reading them now.

And now I'm bummed that I'm finished with the Oxford Time Travel series. They're so fantastic at making me imagine what life (especially during WWII) must have been like in the past.
Beth
I really enjoyed this. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a funny, meandering journey through Victorian England from the point of view of Ned Henry, an Oxford historian from the 21st century. The laws of the "time continuum" prevent anything of significance from being brought from the past to the future, so that time travel is useless as a commercial venture and has been left to academics instead. As the book opens, Verity Kindle, another Oxford time traveler, appears to have violated the laws of the I really enjoyed this. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a funny, meandering journey through Victorian England from the point of view of Ned Henry, an Oxford historian from the 21st century. The laws of the "time continuum" prevent anything of significance from being brought from the past to the future, so that time travel is useless as a commercial venture and has been left to academics instead. As the book opens, Verity Kindle, another Oxford time traveler, appears to have violated the laws of the continuum by bringing a cat from Victorian times to the future. Ned Henry, a specialist in 20th century history, is assigned to travel to the 1940s and search for an artifact from Coventry Cathedral known as "the Bishop's bird stump" and determine its location during the Nazi Blitz in 1940. It's a very well constructed story and was a lot of fun to read.

This is the second book in a series; the books are loosely connected by the concept of time traveling Oxford academics, but this one stands alone pretty well. (I haven't read Doomsday Book yet because the audio version that I tried before turned out to have a corrupted tape, and the library doesn't have a hard copy. I can check out the ebook when I get around to it though.)

Favorite quotes
"Nothing in all those "O swan" poems had ever mentioned that they hissed. Or resented being mistaken for felines. Or bit."

"The reason Victorian society was so restricted and repressed was that it was impossible to move without knocking something over."

"One has not lived until one has carried a sixty-pound dog down a sweeping flight of stairs at half-past V in the morning."

"I was never going to get any sleep. I was going to have Alice in Wonderland conversation after Alice in Wonderland conversation until I died of exhaustion. Here, in the restful, idyllic Victorian era."

"It is a temporal universal that people never appreciate their own time, especially transportation. Twentieth-Century contemps complained about cancelled flights and gasoline prices, Eighteenth-Century contemps complained about muddy roads and highwaymen. No doubt Professor Peddick’s Greeks complained about recalcitrant horses and chariot wheels falling off."

"History was indeed controlled by blind forces, as well as character and courage and treachery and love. And accident and random chance. And stray bullets and telegrams and tips. And cats."
Belarius
If you're like me, you hate Jane Austen, not because she's a bad writer but because you want to throttle all of her characters. You could say that Jane Austen wrote smart depictions of an era of profuse ignorance and stupidity. So imagine my delight when author Connie Willis comes to the rescue with To Say Nothing Of The Dog, a razor-sharp time-travel-themed comedy that playfully takes the stupidity to task.

The premise behind the story is a technology that allows operatives to be inserted into t If you're like me, you hate Jane Austen, not because she's a bad writer but because you want to throttle all of her characters. You could say that Jane Austen wrote smart depictions of an era of profuse ignorance and stupidity. So imagine my delight when author Connie Willis comes to the rescue with To Say Nothing Of The Dog, a razor-sharp time-travel-themed comedy that playfully takes the stupidity to task.

The premise behind the story is a technology that allows operatives to be inserted into the past at historically unimportant times where they can record historical data without disrupting causality. Attempts to insert into important times or places lead to "slippage" to other times and places, preventing this time machine from substantively changing the past. Protagonist Ned Henry is participating in a private project to rebuild a pre-WWII Coventry Cathedral as precisely as possible, but is unable to track down a specific object called the "Bishop's bird stump" because of the history surrounding Coventry's WWII bombing. Due to his repeated trips to the past, he suffers from a temporary form of disorientation called "time-lag," and ends up being given a vacation in the form of a cake-walk in the rural English countryside, circa 1888. His disoriented behavior subsequently leads to a hilarious comedy of errors.

The brilliance of Willis' satire is that Victorian novels only work because the protagonists are seemingly afflicted with congenital idiocy, and the phenomenon of "time-lag" is a wonderful mechanism for inducing that idiocy in her modern-era heroes where necessary. This, combined with 19th century characters who are clever parodies of famous cliches,and a consistently adept writing style makes To Say Nothing Of The Dog a pleasure to read.

The most difficult task an author has in writing a time travel comedy is to weave the non-linearity of the story into the humor, and Willis does this masterfully as well. Her writing is clever and funny throughout, but she saves the best punchlines for the very end.

All things considered, there's very little I can think of to say that's negative about the book. The Victorian idiocy of the protagonists is a temporary time-lag-induced misfortune instead of a systemic character trait, making their misfortunes and mistakes hilarious accidents rather than contemptible oversights. The story is riddled with twists, intrigues, and surprises.

Also, there is a dog.
Jaleenajo
Funny and poignant. I really enjoyed this one. Time travel is not usually my favorite topic, but Connie Willis makes it into something better. I read Doomsday Book, the "prequel" to this one, last year, but I definitely preferred To Say Nothing of the Dog. Highly recommended for fans of literature set in England.

Ned is an exhausted historian who's been hopping all over the past searching for a lost and extremely ugly artifact for a woman attempting to restore the destroyed Coventry cathedral in Funny and poignant. I really enjoyed this one. Time travel is not usually my favorite topic, but Connie Willis makes it into something better. I read Doomsday Book, the "prequel" to this one, last year, but I definitely preferred To Say Nothing of the Dog. Highly recommended for fans of literature set in England.

Ned is an exhausted historian who's been hopping all over the past searching for a lost and extremely ugly artifact for a woman attempting to restore the destroyed Coventry cathedral in a future version of Oxford. (I love that the historians are time-travelers in Willis's world, because entrepreneurs and scientists have gotten tired of the fact that they can't make money off of time travel or use it to influence the past due to the system's ability to prevent "incongruencies" from occurring.) He finds himself sent to the Victorian era to get some rest and hide from the indomitable woman in charge of the restoration, where he then becomes entangled in an attempt to fix an incongruity that should not have occurred when a fellow historian, Verity, accidentally brought a cat from the Victorian era back to the future. This book is complex and hilarious--I can't count the number of times I laughed out loud while reading it. It's also a very smart book with a lot of literary and historical references, and characters you can't help but love.
Jennifer
I love Connie Willis, but honestly can she get an editor? I get it - time travel could cause incongruities - time lag. Her characters spend so much time worrying about this. I think since I'm listening that seems more emphasized. If I was reading it I'd just skip a few paragraphs each chapter.

Finally finished this as I was waiting for my May audible credits. I think that the story could've been shortened by 2/3, but it was charming in it's own ways.

This is all about a pair of time traveling hist I love Connie Willis, but honestly can she get an editor? I get it - time travel could cause incongruities - time lag. Her characters spend so much time worrying about this. I think since I'm listening that seems more emphasized. If I was reading it I'd just skip a few paragraphs each chapter.

Finally finished this as I was waiting for my May audible credits. I think that the story could've been shortened by 2/3, but it was charming in it's own ways.

This is all about a pair of time traveling historians sent back to Victorian England, on commission to find a hideous vase known as the bishops' birdstump, which was destroyed during the bombing of Coventry Cathedral in WW2. The cathedral is being restored in the future, and the benefactor, Lady Shrapnel (appropriately named because she is a vicious nag) wants the item for the dedication.

The time travelers try to make things right, end up making things worse, and are immensely worried that they've horribly impacted the future. There are so many circular discussions about time travel, historical implications, and obscure literary references that it can make your head spin. There are some very silly characters, and the narrator was excellent.
Janice
3-1/2 stars. I enjoyed the comedy of errors that occurred when Ned was sent back in time to the Victorian period to rest. As if! There were some truly laugh out loud moments. The problem was, it seemed to drag on.

One of my favourite characters was Cyril, the bull dog.

A prerequisite for the book to give background information is Three Men in a Boat. I would also recommend that you read The Moonstone because To Say Nothing of the Dog contains major spoilers for it. Reading it will also give some 3-1/2 stars. I enjoyed the comedy of errors that occurred when Ned was sent back in time to the Victorian period to rest. As if! There were some truly laugh out loud moments. The problem was, it seemed to drag on.

One of my favourite characters was Cyril, the bull dog.

A prerequisite for the book to give background information is Three Men in a Boat. I would also recommend that you read The Moonstone because To Say Nothing of the Dog contains major spoilers for it. Reading it will also give some context.
Heather
I love, love, LOVED this book! If you love British humor (humour?), and time-travel, and bull dogs, you need to read this! I'm not kidding. Go get a copy. RIGHT NOW!!
Jim
Despite all the great reviews, I couldn't get into it. I really didn't care what was happening in the story.
Steve Haywood
This is the second book in Connie Willis's time travel series. The first, Doomsday Book, was quite a serious book and full of tragedy and sadness (it was about the Black Death). This book is much more light hearted, in fact it is a sci-fi comedy.

After a visit back to the London blitz, historian Ned Henry is suffering from time lag after two many trips in time over a short period. He gets sent to Victorian Oxford to rest and recuperate. He ends up going on a boat trip on the Thames with two men a This is the second book in Connie Willis's time travel series. The first, Doomsday Book, was quite a serious book and full of tragedy and sadness (it was about the Black Death). This book is much more light hearted, in fact it is a sci-fi comedy.

After a visit back to the London blitz, historian Ned Henry is suffering from time lag after two many trips in time over a short period. He gets sent to Victorian Oxford to rest and recuperate. He ends up going on a boat trip on the Thames with two men and a large dog, re-creating the story of Three Men in a Boat, from the book by Jerome K Jerome. He even passes the 'real' three men in a boat.

This book is part sci-fi, part comedy, part mystery novel. Oh and part Victorian literature. It's an unusual book, but it works well. The Victorian setting is described really well, you really feel like you are there - in this respect it is like the author's previous novel, Doomsday Book. Connie Willis is one talented lady.

While it is by no means essential, you'll enjoy the book a little more I think if you've read Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. You'll certainly get some of the little jokes and subtle references which would otherwise be lost on you.

A really good book. It's not a page turner, it's slower paced but that's good because it is one to savour.
Margaret
Entertaining and clever and a little dark. Connie Willis is wonderful. My kind of Sci-Fi.
Valerie
Throughout this book, I was torn about how I would eventually rate it. At one point, about a quarter of the way through, I was tempted to abandon it. In the end, I was glad to finish it, but found myself disappointed overall.

To be fair, much of my disappointed stems from comparison to Doomsday Book, the previous book of the series. Stylistically, they are two very different books. Really, the only things they have in common are time travel and a handful of characters. Well, they also both featur Throughout this book, I was torn about how I would eventually rate it. At one point, about a quarter of the way through, I was tempted to abandon it. In the end, I was glad to finish it, but found myself disappointed overall.

To be fair, much of my disappointed stems from comparison to Doomsday Book, the previous book of the series. Stylistically, they are two very different books. Really, the only things they have in common are time travel and a handful of characters. Well, they also both feature time travel gone a bit awry.

To Say Nothing of the Dog, while having time travel central to the plot, was really more of a work of literary homage than a scifi book to me. The book seemed to waver between tribute to Three Men in a Boat: ...to say nothing of the dog (kind of obvious given the name of the book), the works of Agatha Christie, and a Victorian farce along the lines of The Importance of Being Earnest. The early part of the book that saw our hero, Ned Henry, floating down the Thames got more than a little long-winded. It was during this part that I came close to giving up on the book.

The plot did pick up once Henry and company reached Muchings End, the place where he needs to fix a time travel incongruity, most likely caused by a cat in his possession. I did find most of the shenanigans among the Mering family extremely entertaining, if a bit inconsistent in pacing at times.

Beyond Muchings and back in the "present," the book began to once again drag a bit. By the time I finally reached the end, I was more than a little dismayed to find no real resolution at all! That was just frustrating.

The jury is still out for me as to whether I will give Blackout a shot.
Jamie Collins
Re-read over the course of a busy vacation. (For the first time I went on a long trip with only my Kindle to read. It was nerve-wracking to board a plane without at least three paperbacks shoved into my carry-on bag.)

The book is great fun. I love Willis’s comedy, and her quiet romances, and her obsession with WWII Britain. Even in this novel, where the time travelers are visiting the year 1888 in an effort to retrieve a Victorian monstrosity called “the Bishop’s bird stump” from pre-war Coventry Re-read over the course of a busy vacation. (For the first time I went on a long trip with only my Kindle to read. It was nerve-wracking to board a plane without at least three paperbacks shoved into my carry-on bag.)

The book is great fun. I love Willis’s comedy, and her quiet romances, and her obsession with WWII Britain. Even in this novel, where the time travelers are visiting the year 1888 in an effort to retrieve a Victorian monstrosity called “the Bishop’s bird stump” from pre-war Coventry Cathedral, the plot hinges around the ancestors of an RAF pilot who might have been critical to the Allied victory.

When I first read this years ago I wasn’t familiar with the classic novel Three Men in a Boat, and I hadn't yet read any Dorothy Sayers. It was a nice bonus to be able to appreciate the references this time around.

The driving force of the novel - fear of Lady Schrapnell and her crusade to perfectly restore the old Cathedral - is pure comedy. Of course it’s ridiculous for time travel to be in the hands of an underfunded, understaffed and rather frazzled history department at Oxford, but it is quite amusing.

I may have to re-read Three Men now, as well as Willis’s Doomsday Book, although that one is not a comedy.
Eliene
4.25 stars

To Say Nothing of the Dog is unlike any other book I've read: a unique blend of science fiction, mystery, humour, and historical fiction.

Its unlikely mix of time travel and 19th century comedy of manners frequently managed to lift my mood and put a smile on my face! I love that the humour is subtle, clever and unexpected.

The whole novel felt like a tribute to history, poetry, love, and unlikely coincidences-- to say nothing of dogs and cats! I can't quite describe how elegantly everyt 4.25 stars

To Say Nothing of the Dog is unlike any other book I've read: a unique blend of science fiction, mystery, humour, and historical fiction.

Its unlikely mix of time travel and 19th century comedy of manners frequently managed to lift my mood and put a smile on my face! I love that the humour is subtle, clever and unexpected.

The whole novel felt like a tribute to history, poetry, love, and unlikely coincidences-- to say nothing of dogs and cats! I can't quite describe how elegantly everything came together in the end.

One of the reservations I have is that some of the historical, literary, and British (?) references completely went over my head. I'm sure someone more well-read than me would enjoy this novel even more than I did. Also, it took me a long time (until about 40%) to get invested in the story.

Highly recommended if you enjoy comedy of manners, detective fiction, and/or subtle punny jokes.
Holly
Hello
So my mom made me read this book. And I was just like "Nooooooooo." But then I was tired and there it was so I started reading it.

And it was great! This is a great book about time travel and mysteries and Victorian costumes and pets. The plot is far from boring, but it was never stressful like, say, The Hunger Games. In that way it's a great bedtime read. I also enjoyed the slight hint of romance!

In the end, I recommend this book to everyone everywhere. It's good for laughing, crying, being Hello
So my mom made me read this book. And I was just like "Nooooooooo." But then I was tired and there it was so I started reading it.

And it was great! This is a great book about time travel and mysteries and Victorian costumes and pets. The plot is far from boring, but it was never stressful like, say, The Hunger Games. In that way it's a great bedtime read. I also enjoyed the slight hint of romance!

In the end, I recommend this book to everyone everywhere. It's good for laughing, crying, being confused, guessing the ending, reading about dresses, reading about cats, fish, and dogs, learning how to row a boat, and also thinking about the space-time continuum! HOORAY FOR MOTHERS!
Claire
I gave this book a chance. I got over 200 pages in and I just cannot go one sentence further.

It is so TEDIOUS. Oh my GODDDDD. Who CARES about these ridiculous Victorian twits? WHO CARES????

I am so angry about this book!

I loved The Doomsday Book, which takes place in the same universe with some of the same characters. That book had things happening that mattered. It had intense emotional and physical trauma. It had interesting time travel.

This book, however, IS THE FREAKING WORST.

WHO CARES ABOU I gave this book a chance. I got over 200 pages in and I just cannot go one sentence further.

It is so TEDIOUS. Oh my GODDDDD. Who CARES about these ridiculous Victorian twits? WHO CARES????

I am so angry about this book!

I loved The Doomsday Book, which takes place in the same universe with some of the same characters. That book had things happening that mattered. It had intense emotional and physical trauma. It had interesting time travel.

This book, however, IS THE FREAKING WORST.

WHO CARES ABOUT THE BISHOP'S BIRD STUMP. I DO NOT.
Mitchell
Overly long. And wow does it get silly near the end. And not nearly as funny as it thinks it is. I guess part of my problem with this one is that I'm not a fan of Agatha Christie mysteries or anything of the like. Or Victorian times. If I cared more about the details, I probably would have found them funnier. And the lack of cell phones and digital cameras were distracting. And even missing the details on Ultra. And none of the characters where especially sympathetic. It was still a good read, j Overly long. And wow does it get silly near the end. And not nearly as funny as it thinks it is. I guess part of my problem with this one is that I'm not a fan of Agatha Christie mysteries or anything of the like. Or Victorian times. If I cared more about the details, I probably would have found them funnier. And the lack of cell phones and digital cameras were distracting. And even missing the details on Ultra. And none of the characters where especially sympathetic. It was still a good read, just not a great one.
Brian
Ned Henry must travel back in time to 1888 in London and goes on a boat trip to fix a space time continuum. The action takes place in 2057 where time travel is in use. Connie Willis attempts to invoke British humor that falls flat and is confusing. To Say Nothing of the Dog is about a cat that gets brought forward in time and about a piece of decoration in a cathedral that was bombed by the Germans in World War 2.
Natalie
I'll admit that this probably won't be everyone's cup of tea. A time travel adventure, crossed with a Victorian comedy of manners? A Hugo award winning Science Fiction novel that references Dorothy L Sayers, Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse and Jerome K Jerome? With more wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff than a series of Doctor Who? No, not everyone's cup of tea.

But definitely mine.
Tfitoby
An unexpected farce combined with an homage to the Golden Age of detective fiction that left me cold despite the adoration I feel for Doomsday Book. I Just don't have much time for humour in my fiction I guess, and at best I am relieved that I finally turned the final page.
Gina Whitlock
I just didn't like it. I know it got great reviews, but I couldn't get into it. I didn't find the humor humorous.
Amy
Time travelling + mystery = what's not to like? Funny, a bit old-fashioned, and well-written.
Alex Sarll
Whilst the Doomsday book hooked me with tension and threat to characters I was so invested in, TSNotD had me because of how much fun I was having in this world with these people. In a Wodehouse vein the characters’ could be so dreadful and yet so endearing, and the focus and trying to fix incongruities whilst avoiding the melancholy and confusion of time lag gives it more the feel of a caper.
Despite the gravity of the first book there was still a fair amount of humour, particularly around Mrs G Whilst the Doomsday book hooked me with tension and threat to characters I was so invested in, TSNotD had me because of how much fun I was having in this world with these people. In a Wodehouse vein the characters’ could be so dreadful and yet so endearing, and the focus and trying to fix incongruities whilst avoiding the melancholy and confusion of time lag gives it more the feel of a caper.
Despite the gravity of the first book there was still a fair amount of humour, particularly around Mrs Gaddson and Colin. Again Willis seems to have a way with these awful busybody women, and we find a lineage of them that seem to be responsible for the creation of jumble-sales. TSNotD would regularly make me laugh aloud and I’d find myself grinning as I was reading.
I wanted to score this lower than The Doomsday Book because the latter bursted with love, despair and charity to such an extent that I haven’t been able to reconcile myself with the events. Yet this book has me close to hat level of investment but using much subtler tools. It was a real pleasure.
Jack
This was everything I wanted and some extra things I didn't know I needed, but did. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a wonderful time travel story, although the time travel is just an excuse to go back and have a comedy of errors in the Victorian period. I think that's what you call the later 1800's? Lots of proper manners, accompanied young women, butlers, cats and dogs, churches, seances. Fun times.

I'd only read Crosstalk before this, and thought that was more or less the style Willis wrote in. I This was everything I wanted and some extra things I didn't know I needed, but did. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a wonderful time travel story, although the time travel is just an excuse to go back and have a comedy of errors in the Victorian period. I think that's what you call the later 1800's? Lots of proper manners, accompanied young women, butlers, cats and dogs, churches, seances. Fun times.

I'd only read Crosstalk before this, and thought that was more or less the style Willis wrote in. I could not have been more wrong. It must be a stylistic choice, because this felt so much better composed. Fun characters, solid and time specific writing, a gripping plot. Not that CT didn't have that, it just felt more...airy? But then again, that was how the characters were supposed to come across. I assume.

Joe
The second book in the Oxford Time Travel series, which does not have to be read in order (Blackout and All Clear are part 1 and 2 of the same story just split into 2 books however). Overall I really enjoyed this.

In this future Earth historians don't just do fieldwork and unearth evidence of history in the traditional way. They go back in time and experience moments from history in person and discover, hopefully, revelations about it. However it's become so normal now that everyone takes it for The second book in the Oxford Time Travel series, which does not have to be read in order (Blackout and All Clear are part 1 and 2 of the same story just split into 2 books however). Overall I really enjoyed this.

In this future Earth historians don't just do fieldwork and unearth evidence of history in the traditional way. They go back in time and experience moments from history in person and discover, hopefully, revelations about it. However it's become so normal now that everyone takes it for granted and it's used in a fairly trivial manner. For instance the woman who is donating money to the College in Oxford wants to know things for herself. Things don't go according to plan and everything is chaotic in a amusing fashion.

There's Victorian England, the bombing of Coventry Cathedral during World War II, a Bulldog called Cyril and references to Dorothy L. Sayers, Arthur Conan Doyle and P.G. Wodehouse. It's just as mad and fun as it sounds.
Chronographia
I find it charming that the author had confidence enough in western civilization to speculate that we would be well on the road to developing time travel by next year. And by next year, I mean next month.

Nine-tenths of this book is misdirection, which disguises the Very Extreme Cleverness of the remaining one-tenth until you get to the big reveal at the end (and learn that the long game is even longer than you thought, and that the thing playing said long game is the space-time continuum itself— I find it charming that the author had confidence enough in western civilization to speculate that we would be well on the road to developing time travel by next year. And by next year, I mean next month.

Nine-tenths of this book is misdirection, which disguises the Very Extreme Cleverness of the remaining one-tenth until you get to the big reveal at the end (and learn that the long game is even longer than you thought, and that the thing playing said long game is the space-time continuum itself—which leads me to question if it’s merely a self-correcting system or in fact sentient).
Hanson Ho
Its start kind of lost me but it won me back by the end. A quirky mystery novel with an SF setting, witty, funny, and intricately plotted. Not what I expected tbh but I really liked how it goes beyond the expectations of the genre.
Mandy
This book is the antidote to everything that is terrible in the world right now. Plus: time travel, wacky Victorians/Victoriana, seances, mysteries, Gaudy Night references, and a very charming dog and cat.
Emily
Glad I finally got around to reading this - it's impressive in so many ways. I did find that the constant misunderstandings and missed connections worked much better for me as drama in her other time travel novels than as comedy in this one - the frequent repeated phrases and allusions got tiresome. A good universe to be back in, though!
Shannon
This book has WAY too many of my loves not to receive 5 stars: cats(!!), Lord Peter Wimsey references, history, time travel, the IMPORTANCE of cats, one sweet dog, and a bit of Latin too!

I much preferred this book to Willis' Doomsday Book. It was funny, engaging, and delightful. Very fun first read of the year. It is like a comedy of errors, only with the time space continuum.
Michele
I absolutely love this book - it's my favourite time-travel story. The characters are engaging and the story-line is entertaining and attention-grabbing.
D. H.
I read this because I'd just finished Doomsday Book, but the two books could not be more different. It has Mr. Dunworthy as the head of Oxford's time travel, and it is set in that same time travel universe. However where Doomsday Book was a drama with a story that takes us to a historical point we all know and feel nothing about and forces us to feel something, this is a farce on par with P.G. Wodehouse.

I've read some Wodehouse, and of course it's brilliant for its complexity and absurdity, but I read this because I'd just finished Doomsday Book, but the two books could not be more different. It has Mr. Dunworthy as the head of Oxford's time travel, and it is set in that same time travel universe. However where Doomsday Book was a drama with a story that takes us to a historical point we all know and feel nothing about and forces us to feel something, this is a farce on par with P.G. Wodehouse.

I've read some Wodehouse, and of course it's brilliant for its complexity and absurdity, but the nonstop absurd humor is fatiguing. The endings impress me because of the way things tie together, but never feel rewarding enough for all that trouble.

This book was like that.

I'm surprised, looking down now and seeing the date I stated and the date I finished, it took only two weeks. It felt much longer.

I have become, of late, a give-upper on books. I never was before, but after having forced myself to finish books time and again, I've learned the second half of a book almost never saves the first.

Yet I never considered giving up on this one. Despite the absurdities, which were more amusing than funny, following one after another, the writing is good, the pacing is fine, and there seems to be something deeper going on.

So I went on too and found that this is one of those books where the last part DOES save everything that comes before it.

(view spoiler)[ Because the whole time you think you're in a farce (especially Three Men in a Boat which is often mentioned, you're actually reading a mystery novel. And guess what? (view spoiler)[

I put a spoiler inside a spoiler here because this is really a big deal, so you should not proceed unless you already know how it ends.(view spoiler)[

I mean seriously, this is a big (view spoiler)[

Mr. C, the person they're searching for the whole time is(view spoiler)[

THE BUTLER.

When I thought it was a farce, I saw the Butler as Jeeves. When things are turned around, and I realized it's a mystery, Jeeves became the culprit.

Of course, culprit is the wrong word. The only thing he did wrong was elope, and that is bad, but it's not murder.

Nonetheless, the butler then serves as a connection between the farce and the murder mystery, and at this point I thought the story is not so much about traveling back in time, but traveling back through literary forms.
(hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]

So I guess I should amend the statement above. This book was like that... at first. Then I found some wonderfulness.

Not that it was all wonderful. A huge complaint would be as readers we figure out that stuff up there in the spoiler part of this review much in advance of the characters, and it's frustrating waiting for the characters to catch up.

Two things compensate for this:

1) We don't understand as much as we think, and the characters later have to fill us in on the stuff we saw and missed, but they didn't, and

2) the story has big, beautiful themes.

The Big Beautiful Themes
1. Everything and everyone is connected.
2. All of our actions matter.
3. We possess freewill even when events feel out of our control.
4. Love. It's all about love.

Time Travel Nuts & Bolts
(view spoiler)[Means of Travel: Mechanical. The historians at Oxford travel via something called the Net.

Consequences: Self-Consistency Principle - The time line is a self-governing chaotic system that incorporates the time travelers into it's entire being. Paradoxes are nearly impossible, and if one occurs the timeline corrects itself even if the correction takes place before the paradox.

Reader Dissonance: 8 (on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 meaning the "present" in the book feels just like my own present. 10 meaning it is so different from my own that I can't stop thinking about it.). It was better than the first story because the story doesn't take place much in the book's present, so we didn't notice the lack of cellphones as much. Then we're told cats we extinct as a species in 2005. (hide spoiler)]
Olga Godim
This is my first Connie Willis. I learned about this book after reading Carol’s excellent review, and I’m so glad I did. The novel was a charming discovery, and I’m definitely going to read more of this writer.
The book is hard to summarize. It touches on a number of interlinked themes, but the main one, in my opinion, is history and its redundancy. We all know about the butterfly effect, but in Willis’s fictional universe, it’s almost impossible to change history, which tends to repair itself w This is my first Connie Willis. I learned about this book after reading Carol’s excellent review, and I’m so glad I did. The novel was a charming discovery, and I’m definitely going to read more of this writer.
The book is hard to summarize. It touches on a number of interlinked themes, but the main one, in my opinion, is history and its redundancy. We all know about the butterfly effect, but in Willis’s fictional universe, it’s almost impossible to change history, which tends to repair itself whether people interfere or not. A troubling concept, isn’t it? Does anything we do make a difference?
But Willis didn’t write a philosophical tractate on the topic. Instead, she picked a deep, solemn idea and transformed it into an irreverent caper, as if saying: ‘Let’s not take ourselves too seriously.’
The novel follows the protagonist Ned Henry, a historian at the Oxford time travel department in the middle of the 21st century. Disoriented and sleep-deprived from his time-lag syndrome (too many time jumps in too short a period cause the condition), he ‘drops’ to the Victorian era to recuperate. His boss also asks him to perform a small service for the department: return a cat, which another historian, Ned’s coworker Verity Kindle, smuggled inadvertently from 1888. The smuggled cat might create, or has already created, an incongruity in the time-space continuum, which might result in the changing of history. The department head can’t allow such a disaster to happen.
Together, the two young historians embark on a romp to fix the possible incongruity. Along the way, they fall in love, meet a set of quirky secondary characters, and embroil themselves in a number of hilarious situations, like a séance with a faux medium. Love and history collide, the past and the future mix and match, and the cat comes out the winner.
Actually, I might suggest the alternative title for this story: Much Ado about the Cat .
The author has a knack for inventing fanciful names for her characters. The heroine, Miss Verity Kindle, is erudite, kind, and utterly adorable. In my mind, she is associated vaguely with my Kindle (you may laugh, but I adore my Kindle), although Kindle hadn't been invented yet when Willis wrote this book. Maybe she traveled into the future...
Another character, the time travel department’s benefactress Lady Schrapnell, is just as she sounds: loud, unstoppable, and loaded. You don’t want to stand in her way. And of course, the cat. Her name, Princess Arjumand, meows for itself.
The narrative is beautiful and effortless, enriched by piling absurdities, extensive and slightly anglicized vocabulary, and the writer’s wicked humor. An amusing and delightful read.
The only problem I could see with this book, and why I dropped the star rating, is that it’s too wordy, especially in the middle chapters. I was drowning in the flood of extraneous details, historical references, and poetic quotations, and I wondered: what was the connection of all this verbiage to the story? Maybe the author, like her heroes, suffered from time-lag? She describes inconsequential chatter as one of its symptoms. The book wouldn’t have suffered at all if it was 300 pages instead of over 400. In fact, it would've been tighter and more focused. On the other hand, its very dishevelment might be part of its charm.
3.5 stars.
Tim Hicks
OK, three and a half. Maybe four if I hadn't read Blackout/All Clear, or if I had read The Doomsday Book more recently that I actually did.

Good ideas here, and numerous nods to British culture, other novels, and all sorts of other stuff. I got all of that, I think, and enjoyed most of it.

But there are some things that I am increasingly noticing in Willis's work.

One is that she has done a LOT of research and isn't about to waste any of it by not using it in the book. I am no longer surprised t OK, three and a half. Maybe four if I hadn't read Blackout/All Clear, or if I had read The Doomsday Book more recently that I actually did.

Good ideas here, and numerous nods to British culture, other novels, and all sorts of other stuff. I got all of that, I think, and enjoyed most of it.

But there are some things that I am increasingly noticing in Willis's work.

One is that she has done a LOT of research and isn't about to waste any of it by not using it in the book. I am no longer surprised to read that a certain teacup used to belong to Lady Petunia Butterthornethwaite-Pilkington - of the Northumberland Butterthornthwaites, you remember, Cicely told us that the third Lord B hired the man who invented moleskin while working on Hadrian's Wall, which kept the Romans out of wherever it was, I must call Professor Piffle and ask him -- and was found in 1976 by a retired schoolteacher searching for old Keats manuscripts after a prolonged sneezing bout kept him from his true calling as a lepidopterist, did you know that Lewis Carroll used to collect butterflies that he kept in an old leather book he bought in a dusty bookshop just down Pimple Street from old Jowett's lodgings when he was an undergraduate, and that the teacup was in fact utterly irrelevant to the plot?

Another is a stylistic thing -- perhaps a tribute to Christie and other authors - of throwing in hundreds of detours and red herrings and especially delays. It's almost Proustian when we read that -- for example -- X wants to buy a postcard in the shop ten feet away, and fifty pages later he still doesn't have the postcard, because 63 infuriating little things have happened and FOR HEAVENS'S SAKE CAN WE JUST GET ON WITH THE PLOT????

Finally, there's just too much hand-wringing, as character after character worries about time-travel problems, and whether A has met B yet, and where on earth has C got to, and why won't the gate open, and OH STOP IT!

And after all that I can't argue with this book's award.

And now, having read this one at last, I am glad I didn't read it before Blackout/All Clear, because those books have all the above annoyances with bells on. I came very close to bailing out on that series, and if I had read this one first I certainly would have bailed, awards or not. You can get too much of a good thing.

I will admit that there is a wonderful underlying concept to all these books: that time travel was invented/discovered by a genius but is mostly being operated by idiots.
Candace
People have been telling me for a while that I ought to read Connie Willis, and I have not listened to them, and therefore it is entirely my fault that I have been missing out. If you are at all interested in history, time travel, chaos theory, detective stories, the late Victorian period, or just a good read that will make you think but probably won't punish you too hard if you don't, you should be reading this book...and since I am interested in most of these things it's doubly ridiculous that People have been telling me for a while that I ought to read Connie Willis, and I have not listened to them, and therefore it is entirely my fault that I have been missing out. If you are at all interested in history, time travel, chaos theory, detective stories, the late Victorian period, or just a good read that will make you think but probably won't punish you too hard if you don't, you should be reading this book...and since I am interested in most of these things it's doubly ridiculous that I hadn't read it before.

Ned Henry is an Oxford historian in the late twenty-first century, when "historian" has become more or less synonymous with "time traveler." Time travel exists and it works, but nothing can be done to change the past, so the only people still interested in time travel are the people who care, not about changing history, but about studying it. There are rules: nothing from the past can be taken into the present, nothing can be done to meddle with significant dates in history (the time-traveling apparatus just won't open if in doing so it would allow an historian to create an incongruity), and if an incongruity somehow occurs, the continuum will throw a temper tantrum to try to fix it...which is exactly how Ned Henry, who's supposed to be researching the details of Coventry Cathedral in aid of one mad rich woman's effort to reconstruct it in Oxford, winds up in 1888 trying to salvage a series of increasingly large incongruities with the help of Verity Kindle (typical assignment 1930s, reassigned to 1888 as another part of the Coventry project).

I was a little disoriented at first, but this is more a result of Ned's own disorientation and the choice of first-person narration (which I frequently dislike, but which really works here), and this is a book in which there are certainly clues if you're looking for them but in which you can have fun just going along with it and seeing where you wind up. I love the premise -- of course time travel would become the province of historians, of course even time travelers need academic funding and so have to do projects for big donors that take time away from their normal objectives -- and the characters, though initially just on the "ok" level, grew on me when I wasn't looking and eventually won me over.

There is boating and fighting and lots of talk of history and also a great deal of cats (no, I'm not even joking), and I can't wait to go off and read the other books in the universe.
Beth
Like all great mysteries, To Say Nothing of the Dog is a masterpiece of misdirection. It's structured like a great mystery: all the clues to its conclusion are right there - the debate over history, the maid Jane, the pregnant cat, the young Dunworthy - little details that present as hilarious or poignant historical anecdotes. Nothing is a mere anecdote, though, because every detail in a mystery is vital. Every detail builds toward the brilliant, wonderfully organic conclusion.

This is the story Like all great mysteries, To Say Nothing of the Dog is a masterpiece of misdirection. It's structured like a great mystery: all the clues to its conclusion are right there - the debate over history, the maid Jane, the pregnant cat, the young Dunworthy - little details that present as hilarious or poignant historical anecdotes. Nothing is a mere anecdote, though, because every detail in a mystery is vital. Every detail builds toward the brilliant, wonderfully organic conclusion.

This is the story of time-traveling historians, set a few years in the future, with a believable scientific model that gets challenged through the course of the novel as time-lagged historians attempt to unravel incongruities and prevent a grave, history-altering error that its computer system was supposed to prevent in the first place.

But the novel is such a spectacular success because its misdirection lies in its humanity. There's no easily dismissed diversionary fluff that makes you feel cheated at the novel's end. Instead, it's the story of an exhausting job and an overbearing boss. Of looking feeble-minded in 19th century fashion. Of mismatched couples and eccentric professors and ridiculous seances and Lord Peter and Harriet references.

Much like its narrative structure, To Say Nothing of the Dog presents a story in which everyone matters. In which everything feeds into everything else. It's a powerful thing.

To Say Nothing of the Dog demonstrates why cliches exist, too, by successfully employing - and subverting - cliche with such humor and warmth that it never descends into cliche itself. Historians assume their colleagues are time-lagged and turn out to be exhausted themselves. Dueling professors fight with words and then push each other into the river. (view spoiler)[And then there's the classic mystery cliche, acknowledged in a later time and still surprising: of course the butler did it. (hide spoiler)]

In fact, in one of the novel's shining moments, Lady Schrapnell takes one look at the novel's barometer for good taste - the thing that changed her ancestor's life, the reason for her prohibitively expensive rebuilding project - and exclaims over how hideous it is. Of course.
Samantha Glasser
Ned Henry is looking for the Bishop's Bird Stump, and if you don't know what that is, you might want to look it up because it isn't explained right off. A bird stump is a kind of a vase, and this bird stump doesn't look like the ones you'll find on Google Images. This one is grotesquely cluttered with Bible stories and animal scenes alike, and it is considered to be an essential piece of history for Lady Schrapnell's reconstruction of the Coventry Cathedral. "God is in the details" she exclaims Ned Henry is looking for the Bishop's Bird Stump, and if you don't know what that is, you might want to look it up because it isn't explained right off. A bird stump is a kind of a vase, and this bird stump doesn't look like the ones you'll find on Google Images. This one is grotesquely cluttered with Bible stories and animal scenes alike, and it is considered to be an essential piece of history for Lady Schrapnell's reconstruction of the Coventry Cathedral. "God is in the details" she exclaims to all of the poor time travel students who are forced to go to various locations in the past searching for it.

Ned has done so many time travel "drops" that he is now a babbling "time-lagged" idiot, so his professor Mr. Dunworthy sends him to the Victorian era for some rest and relaxation. There he meets another time travel student on a mission for the Bishop's Bird Stump and they try to mend the things of the past they've accidentally changed in their missions.

The characters are cleverly named and well developed. Each person has a distinct personality and although there are many characters, Willis makes it easy for us to keep track of all of them, including the various animal characters.

I read the Oxford Time Travel books out of order. It didn't affect the story at all, but I have to say that of all of them, I enjoy this book the least. That is not to say I did not enjoy it, but there were issues that lessened my enjoyment of this book.

The ending ties up all of the loose ends too rapidly. There is action after action after action based on Ned's sudden revelation that disciphers all of the mysteries surrounding all of the many events in the book. While a few of them could be guessed ahead of time, some of them were completely out of left field and left me feeling that this story was ingenuine.

Perhaps my experiences with the other books in this series colored my expectations too much. I was ready for a powerful, history-heavy book that ends with a punch. This book emulates the lightheartedness and frivolity of Jerome's Three Men in a Tub and the countless murder mysteries of the 1930s. In that sense, it is very well done, but it was less to my taste than Willis' other novels.
Mark Gunnell
Much like the first book in this series, it took me a little while to get into it. Once I did, I enjoyed this quirky story. Though, now I feel like I need to read "Three Men in a Boat."
Shanda
Ned Henry is a time traveler saddled with the task of finding the bishop's bird stump in time for the consecration of the reconstruction of Coventry Cathedral. He is sent to Victorian England for a much needed rest which turns into another task and not so much the needed relaxation. During his quest and bumblings along the way he may even meet his true love.

This was a really different book from any that I have read. Not for the lover of spoon-fed reads, this book requires work. At first I didn't Ned Henry is a time traveler saddled with the task of finding the bishop's bird stump in time for the consecration of the reconstruction of Coventry Cathedral. He is sent to Victorian England for a much needed rest which turns into another task and not so much the needed relaxation. During his quest and bumblings along the way he may even meet his true love.

This was a really different book from any that I have read. Not for the lover of spoon-fed reads, this book requires work. At first I didn't want to like it because I had to work hard. But later I could appreciate it for what it is - a quirky time-travel book full of hilarious characters and events. My favorite part of the book is all the laugh out loud moments where Ned is ridiculing the Victorian era. He took every cliche from this time period and exploited the heck out of it. Routinely ladies give little "screamlets" with their mouth in a perfect "O." Every word that Ned has only seen in print is uttered out loud - "pshaw, stuff and nonsense, drat" and other such words. I liked a scene where Baine the butler has literally been given 50 commands in 10 seconds, and Ned wonders why the butler "hasn't turned to pet drowning" because of the stress of the job.

I also enjoyed Ned, a slightly fumbling character with the best intentions. My favorite part with him was when he caught the first glimpse of himself in a window in the Victorian era and stopped cold saying, "Wow, I do look great!"

I can't give this book a wholehearted 4 stars because the plot was sometimes extremely tedious to wade through. Also it took a crazy amount of time - think 100 pages - to figure out what the heck was going on. It is more like a 3.5 for me for the unique plot, laughable situations and characters.

Kathleen
Historians need to travel back in time to reconstruct the past as best they can. Literally. Mistakes are made and the time stream needs to be corrected.

I love the concept of time-lag. It introduces just the right amount of confusion to the beginning of the story to set up wacky hijinks. It also wears off quickly enough to allow our heroes to be the sort of brilliant detectives one would expect an Oxford education to produce.

This is a book about history, and Willis owns her influences with abso Historians need to travel back in time to reconstruct the past as best they can. Literally. Mistakes are made and the time stream needs to be corrected.

I love the concept of time-lag. It introduces just the right amount of confusion to the beginning of the story to set up wacky hijinks. It also wears off quickly enough to allow our heroes to be the sort of brilliant detectives one would expect an Oxford education to produce.

This is a book about history, and Willis owns her influences with absolutely perfect allusions. Wodehouse, Sayers, Christie, Shakespeare, Chaucer, and innumerable others come through loud and clear exactly when they should. This is time travel for book lovers.

This is a book about boats. In the best tradition of dreamy Victorian romances, the pairings are all perfectly predictable. There is only one way the current of time flows, no matter how many eddies one must dodge, nor how inconvenient the swans.

This is a book about dogs. Man's ever so helpful best friend understands the cat much better than a time traveler could. After all, cats are extinct in the Historian's time.

This is a book about cats. Incomprehensible creatures, but charming enough to be worth the effort. In the best tradition of mysteries, even after the detectives wrap everything up, the reader is left with a question or two.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes science fiction, P G Wodehouse, or Back To The Future.
Tina
I absolutely loved this book. I'm an avid reader of Victorian fiction and sci-fi, so this was right up my alley. Right off the bat I knew this book was going to be great, because it started in medias res, which I love; I absolutely hate when a book starts off with exposition exposition exposition. Ugh! Let me figure it out for myself gradually... which this book did! I loved the characters - Willis was able to stride the line of pastiche and realism in a way that was both charming and hilarious; I absolutely loved this book. I'm an avid reader of Victorian fiction and sci-fi, so this was right up my alley. Right off the bat I knew this book was going to be great, because it started in medias res, which I love; I absolutely hate when a book starts off with exposition exposition exposition. Ugh! Let me figure it out for myself gradually... which this book did! I loved the characters - Willis was able to stride the line of pastiche and realism in a way that was both charming and hilarious; I never felt that the characters' depictions were too over-the-top when it came to parody (eg. the love-sick young man, the befuddled professor, the hysterical Victorian lady).
Also the nature of the cat and dog was just bang on. I have a pug (a dog with a similar body structure to a bulldog) and the description of Cyril swimming matched my pug so well that I couldn't help laughing! I also have a black and white cat who whacks my dog in the face, so that was pretty funny to me as well.

My only issue was that there was a little too much repeated explanation of the slippage effect for me (though I understand that many readers might not be as knowledgeable about time travel as myself, so reinforcing the point probably helped their grasp on the concept). My only other issue was that I was about 95% certain the whole time as to who "Mr.C" actually was, but when the truth came out, I was not annoyed at the "obviousness" (because it wasn't really obvious), but happy at the turn-out.

I'll definitely be reading another Connie Willis in the future!
wanderer
When a book has thousands of reviews, I don't feel compelled to summarize, so I'll just say a few random things about To Say Nothing of the Dog.

It's the second Connie Willis book I've read, and it's not quiiite as good as The Doomsday Book but very, very close. In fact, some things about it are better. I'll always choose a medieval setting (Doomsday) over a Victorian one, but To Say Nothing of the Dog spent less time in the "real world", which I loved. And if anything, this book is funnier.

Fun When a book has thousands of reviews, I don't feel compelled to summarize, so I'll just say a few random things about To Say Nothing of the Dog.

It's the second Connie Willis book I've read, and it's not quiiite as good as The Doomsday Book but very, very close. In fact, some things about it are better. I'll always choose a medieval setting (Doomsday) over a Victorian one, but To Say Nothing of the Dog spent less time in the "real world", which I loved. And if anything, this book is funnier.

Funny! Connie Willis doesn't make you laugh aloud and slap your knee, which I'm not that fond of doing, actually. Willis' humor creeps up on you at the most random moments, leaving you grinning foolishly with no possible way to explain it to your significant other. "Umm...you see, this guy has to read his Victorian pocket watch with Roman numerals, and it's just so funny to hear him say he fell asleep at half past VI. I mean, I know that doesn't sound so funny, when I say it, but...uh...you'll just have to read the book." I had no clue how amusing pen-wipers could be. Or jumble sales. Or swans. Or fishponds.

The trip down the river got a tiny bit long, and I wanted disparately to pitch the old professor overboard, but once the "three men in a boat" arrived in the Mering's quaintly Victorian world, the pace picked up and I could hardly lay the book down.

Ever so glad there are two more in this series!
Matt Williams
I found the Doomsday Book to be hilarious and oddly moving. I had hoped the semi-sequel, a separate story in the same universe, would be more of the same. So I started in and found our protagonist, Ned, rooting through the wreckage of Coventry Cathedral, looking for a Macguffin.

And I was confused. So confused. See, our story is told entirely in the first person, and at the beginning Ned is suffering from time lag. Time lag is a lot like jet lag, and being easily confused is a symptom. Ned starts I found the Doomsday Book to be hilarious and oddly moving. I had hoped the semi-sequel, a separate story in the same universe, would be more of the same. So I started in and found our protagonist, Ned, rooting through the wreckage of Coventry Cathedral, looking for a Macguffin.

And I was confused. So confused. See, our story is told entirely in the first person, and at the beginning Ned is suffering from time lag. Time lag is a lot like jet lag, and being easily confused is a symptom. Ned starts spouting poetry and jumping from thought to thought and mishearing characters and bungling plot elements, and as a result I was disoriented.

"Ah-HAH," I thought. "That's just what she wants me to feel. The game's afoot." I read the rest of the book in either gleeful collaboration with or active defiance of her authorial intent. As Ned gets more facts, I the reader get more facts. As Ned is hilariously beset by hilarious Victorian antics, I snicker and chortle in response. And as he sets out to solve the semi-fair-play mystery, I play along at home, cataloguing clues, advancing theories, eliminating the impossible and allowing for whatever remains, however improbable.

It was a delight to read, and I look forward to the day when somebody publishes an annotated edition which resolves each of the manifold literary quotes, references, and allusions.
Jeffrey
My favorite book so far this year. It is set in that pseudo-rural England of estates and vicars and class that in my head at least spans 1820-1920; in other words Jane Austin to P.G. Wodehouse. Structurally, it is a time travel mystery as the protagonists run about Victorian England trying to avert the end of the universe by making sure history happens the way "it was supposed to". Mix in literary references (primarily to Three Men in a Boat but lots of others like Alfred Lord Tennyson, and My favorite book so far this year. It is set in that pseudo-rural England of estates and vicars and class that in my head at least spans 1820-1920; in other words Jane Austin to P.G. Wodehouse. Structurally, it is a time travel mystery as the protagonists run about Victorian England trying to avert the end of the universe by making sure history happens the way "it was supposed to". Mix in literary references (primarily to Three Men in a Boat but lots of others like Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Lewis Carrol), a love story (with some great lines for wooing women), the best causality explanation ever, and a mystery that does keep you guessing (even if she does cheat). I heartily recommend this one to anybody.
Brandy Painter
How do you take boating on the Thames, bad Victorian art, WWII, a cat with an appetite for expensive fish, a seance, the battle of Waterloo, 1930's detective fiction, time travel, and romance, to say nothing of the dog, and put them all into a thoroughly engaging and fun story? Read this book by Connie Willis and you will get it all.

Ned Henry is an historian from the year 2057. He is pulled from his job working to restore a cathedral and is sent to the year 1889 to rest when he suffers from an How do you take boating on the Thames, bad Victorian art, WWII, a cat with an appetite for expensive fish, a seance, the battle of Waterloo, 1930's detective fiction, time travel, and romance, to say nothing of the dog, and put them all into a thoroughly engaging and fun story? Read this book by Connie Willis and you will get it all.

Ned Henry is an historian from the year 2057. He is pulled from his job working to restore a cathedral and is sent to the year 1889 to rest when he suffers from an acute case of time lag. The problem is he has been sent back not only to rest but to correct an incongruity before the space-time continuum implodes. Unfortunately, he was too time lagged to really understand the instructions of his mission. Now he and his fellow historian, Verity Kindle, must work fast (and minus the promised rest) to save the world and history as we know it. I loved this book because of Ned. He was a fantastic narrator. I loved his wit, his intellect, his self deprecatory humor, his ability to appreciate the absurd and his dedication. I liked Verity very much as well. She was a great foil for him, impulsive, sensitive, equally intelligent and dedicated, and cleverly manipulative. This is going to be a book I will read more than once.
Jared
This is a great book, although it's so thick with literary and poetic allusions that it made me feel ignorant. O, for a classical education!

The story centers around a time-traveler/historian, whose time traveling research group is being ordered about by a Lady who is obsessed with recreating a cathedral that was bombed in World War II. Of course, too much time travel results in serious side effects, akin to jet lag. The main character is under orders to locate the Bishop's bird stump, a hideous This is a great book, although it's so thick with literary and poetic allusions that it made me feel ignorant. O, for a classical education!

The story centers around a time-traveler/historian, whose time traveling research group is being ordered about by a Lady who is obsessed with recreating a cathedral that was bombed in World War II. Of course, too much time travel results in serious side effects, akin to jet lag. The main character is under orders to locate the Bishop's bird stump, a hideous object that was in the cathedral when it burned. And he's badly time-lagged.

Another time traveler in his group inadvertently does the impossible, bringing a cat from the past forward in time. This causes an incongruity that threatens to destroy the universe.

The characterization is brilliant, the writing is clever, and it made me want to read a whole bunch of old classics. Given my aversion to classics, I think that's pretty impressive.

I may have just found my Terry Pratchett replacement.
Jamie Hansen
I found this to be a fun, intriguing and humorous read. And so well-written! A 'light' recreational read, yet anything but 'fluffy.' Exactly in that sweet spot of quality writing (characters, plot, development, etc.) and entirely accessible. Well it stretched me a bit too, but I often like that in a book (had to use my Kindle dictionary more than once, but that's what it's there for, right?) The diverse cast of characters were so entertaining, as were their interactions and dialogue. I have to a I found this to be a fun, intriguing and humorous read. And so well-written! A 'light' recreational read, yet anything but 'fluffy.' Exactly in that sweet spot of quality writing (characters, plot, development, etc.) and entirely accessible. Well it stretched me a bit too, but I often like that in a book (had to use my Kindle dictionary more than once, but that's what it's there for, right?) The diverse cast of characters were so entertaining, as were their interactions and dialogue. I have to admit, I wish I had been able to appreciate all the literary references to other books and characters and situations (there were SO many). If you ever want a few book recommendations, reading this one will be sure to give you about a dozen others. (Looks like I should add "Three Men in a Boat" to my list. :)) I also have a feeling that it will have a lot of re-read value, as I anticipate being able to catch more of the references and appreciate more of the plot intricacies as they occur and unfold. Great book.
Marilyn
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially the beginning where Ned is sent to the Victorian era. It was funny to read his thoughts and also to learn, along with him, what things are. I admit I did use the automatic dictionary built into kindle e books. The characters were introduced and commented upon so you felt you could keep track of everyone. The dialogue of certain characters is highly entertaining.
The time travel mode is not exactly explained (maybe in another book) but one gets an idea o I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially the beginning where Ned is sent to the Victorian era. It was funny to read his thoughts and also to learn, along with him, what things are. I admit I did use the automatic dictionary built into kindle e books. The characters were introduced and commented upon so you felt you could keep track of everyone. The dialogue of certain characters is highly entertaining.
The time travel mode is not exactly explained (maybe in another book) but one gets an idea of how it works. Also I do like the fact that in this book, time travel exits as a known way to get around and they make many drops. It is funny to see what too many drops in a short period of time will do to Ned.
There is a lot of history to follow and that is interesting.
The book is a bit long and I found myself trying to get through the last couple of chapters that were loaded with technical observations.
I rate a book a four or five if I think I would want to read it again, and I certainly would like to read this again and her other books too.
Tish
4 or 4.5 stars. Quite enjoyable! Kind of a literary, Victorian comedy of errors--with time travel. And funny enough to make me laugh out loud in public places!
Nancy
Henry and Verity go back in time to get the Bishop's Bird Stump (a hideous vase) They are part of a group of historians. Things get very confusing, there are many many times when people can not be understood (frustratingly so). There are many references to historical events that are rather boring. The Victorian setting is interesting, but the characters are rather unbelievable and one-dimensional. I got sick of reading about "slippages" because of an "incongruity" -- blah, blah -- rather technic Henry and Verity go back in time to get the Bishop's Bird Stump (a hideous vase) They are part of a group of historians. Things get very confusing, there are many many times when people can not be understood (frustratingly so). There are many references to historical events that are rather boring. The Victorian setting is interesting, but the characters are rather unbelievable and one-dimensional. I got sick of reading about "slippages" because of an "incongruity" -- blah, blah -- rather technical considerations of the time machine. Very maltzy in part -- like Carruthers mooning over Warder something like, she's a lovely girl don't you think? Would someone really say that? Lady Schrapnell is an domineering woman -- again very one-dimensional. It played to humor though, but all the seriousness of the time machine seemed not to fit. But then again the using of the time machine to find the Bishop's Bird Stump was ridiculous. Maybe I'm just not clever enough to get it.
Amy
I won't recap the story...but was reminded of Alice in Wonderland and "The Importance of Being Ernest" meet Lord Peter Wimsey.

An enjoyable book- particularly when linked to the technologies in the Doomsday Book. I liked all the Victorian details. What a society! I can barely keep straight how to set a table now. I'd be a total horror in the Victorian world. At first, I found the book a little hard to get into, but it definitely picked up.

Some of the details I liked- the concept of being time l I won't recap the story...but was reminded of Alice in Wonderland and "The Importance of Being Ernest" meet Lord Peter Wimsey.

An enjoyable book- particularly when linked to the technologies in the Doomsday Book. I liked all the Victorian details. What a society! I can barely keep straight how to set a table now. I'd be a total horror in the Victorian world. At first, I found the book a little hard to get into, but it definitely picked up.

Some of the details I liked- the concept of being time lagged, the origin of jumble sales, the bringing in of Christie and Sayers, the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime, Cyril and Princess Juju, English eccentricity, and attention to actual historical details.

And, (now I am displaying my ignorance) is there really a book about three men and a boat? To say nothing of the dog...
Natalie
I really liked this book, but I didn't really love it like I loved Doomsday Book, Blackout/All Clear. Those two books drove me to tears several times, but this one was a bit more light hearted. There was one really poignant scene in 1940 Coventry, but this was more of an exception. I really enjoyed the humor, and characters. The mystery the historians are trying to solve was a lot of fun. I feel like it may be time to read a good old mystery (Agitha Christie anyone?). Two last favorite parts: th I really liked this book, but I didn't really love it like I loved Doomsday Book, Blackout/All Clear. Those two books drove me to tears several times, but this one was a bit more light hearted. There was one really poignant scene in 1940 Coventry, but this was more of an exception. I really enjoyed the humor, and characters. The mystery the historians are trying to solve was a lot of fun. I feel like it may be time to read a good old mystery (Agitha Christie anyone?). Two last favorite parts: the animals, and the effects of time lag. Both were key in most of the parts that had me chuckling and laughing (earning questions of "What's so funny Mommy??"). I recommend Connie Willis's Oxford Time Travel books. They have something to offer a Sci Fi fan, a history buff, and someone just looking for a well written novel.
Rosemary
Ned Henry is sent back in time to Victorian England to correct an incongruity, which one of his fellow historians has caused by bringing back a cat and altering the course of history. Or has she? Incongruity upon incongruity follow, as Ned makes matters worse by going off on the river with a student who should have met the love of his life at the station, and causing him to become engaged to somebody else.

This is the second book in Connie Willis’s time travel series and I think it’s better know Ned Henry is sent back in time to Victorian England to correct an incongruity, which one of his fellow historians has caused by bringing back a cat and altering the course of history. Or has she? Incongruity upon incongruity follow, as Ned makes matters worse by going off on the river with a student who should have met the love of his life at the station, and causing him to become engaged to somebody else.

This is the second book in Connie Willis’s time travel series and I think it’s better known than the first. The travel is to a very different time period—mostly Victorian, with some 1940s, where the first book was medieval—and it could stand alone, but I think I’d have been confused about the mechanics of time travel without reading the first one first. I loved it!
Kilian Metcalf
I bought this because of the title and the conceit. I am a big fan of Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), and I thought there would be more of a connection with that lovely, genle book. There was a bit, and Ms Willis knows her stuff. What hindered my enjoyment of this book is the pacing. I don't mind a fast-paced comedy, but this one left me exhausted. So much rushing around, so many interrupted conversations and unfinished business. I know that it ups the tension, I bought this because of the title and the conceit. I am a big fan of Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), and I thought there would be more of a connection with that lovely, genle book. There was a bit, and Ms Willis knows her stuff. What hindered my enjoyment of this book is the pacing. I don't mind a fast-paced comedy, but this one left me exhausted. So much rushing around, so many interrupted conversations and unfinished business. I know that it ups the tension, but it was too much for me. I like a book that moves a little more slowly. The fault is in me, not in the book. If you like comedy that verges on slapstick and moves along briskly, you will probably enjoy this book more than I did.
Sarah
When two of your friends, both of whom have excellent taste in books, say "you haven't read that?!" it's a good idea to pick up the book in question. So thank you, Sarah and Charlotte, for suggesting this to me, because it's great fun. After all, who doesn't love a novel that references not only Dorothy L. Sayers and various Victorian novels (especially Wilkie Collins), but also The Princess Bride? And, of course, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, which was part of the inspiration for the When two of your friends, both of whom have excellent taste in books, say "you haven't read that?!" it's a good idea to pick up the book in question. So thank you, Sarah and Charlotte, for suggesting this to me, because it's great fun. After all, who doesn't love a novel that references not only Dorothy L. Sayers and various Victorian novels (especially Wilkie Collins), but also The Princess Bride? And, of course, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, which was part of the inspiration for the story. It's a story about the Victorian era, time travel, the importance of minor events to history, and how easy it is to change things just by existing. This is a fun, entertaining, and funny read, and I highly recommend it.
Bish Denham
I'd give this a strong 4 and a half stars if I could. The only reason I'm not giving it a five is because it took me a good three chapters to begin to get into the story. One of the things I have to consider when I pick up a book that's nearly 500 pages is, do I want to spend the time on it? I'm a slow reader and this one took me nearly a month. Was it worth it? You bet. It was worth it just to find out what the heck the bishop's bird stump was, which didn't get explained/described until past ha I'd give this a strong 4 and a half stars if I could. The only reason I'm not giving it a five is because it took me a good three chapters to begin to get into the story. One of the things I have to consider when I pick up a book that's nearly 500 pages is, do I want to spend the time on it? I'm a slow reader and this one took me nearly a month. Was it worth it? You bet. It was worth it just to find out what the heck the bishop's bird stump was, which didn't get explained/described until past half-way. Was it funny? Yes. It's just all so very Victorian, with these "historians" from the future seeming to raise havoc has they attempt NOT to alter the course of history. A delightful read.
Margaret
The first Willis I read, and still probably my favorite (except for Lincoln's Dreams, which is very different). I knew my history degree could actually be useful someday -- now I want to be a time-traveling historian when I grow up, if only I can figure out how to arrange it. This was a great combination of time travel, mystery, Wodehouse-type house party story, historical fiction, and romance.
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