A Handful of Time
Goodreads ratings
4.15 / 5

"A Handful of Time" Summary

By Kit Pearson

fiction | 208 pages | Published in NaN

When Patricia's mother sends her to her cousins' cottage for the summer, Patricia doesn't want to go. She doesn't know her cousins at all, and she's never been good at camping or canoeing, let alone making new friends. When she arrives at the cottage, her worst fears come true: her cousin Kelly teases her; Aunt Ginnie and Uncle Doug feel sorry for her. She doesn't fit in. Then Patricia discovers an old watch hidden under a floorboard. When she winds it, she finds herself taken back in time to the summer when her own mother was twelve.


Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

When Patricia finds a mysterious old watch, she discovers that it has the power to transport her back in time, where she learns about her mother's troubled past.


"A Handful of Time" by Kit Pearson is a poignant and captivating novel that delves into the themes of family, friendship, and the challenges of growing up. Set in the 1950s on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, the story follows the life of Patricia, a young girl struggling to find her place in a family overshadowed by tragedy. As she navigates the complexities of adolescence, Patricia discovers a mysterious old watch that holds the power to transport her back in time, offering her a unique opportunity to uncover the secrets of her family's past.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The story is set in the coastal town of Victoria, British Columbia, during the 1950s. Patricia, the protagonist, is a sensitive and introspective 12-year-old girl who feels overshadowed by the memory of her deceased sister, Margot. Her family is still mourning Margot's death, and Patricia often feels neglected as her parents struggle to cope with their grief. However, Patricia finds solace in her friendship with a boy named Douglas and the discovery of a mysterious old watch that has the power to transport her back in time.

Main Events

1-3Patricia's family struggles with the loss of Margot. Patricia befriends Douglas.
4-6Patricia discovers the old watch and its time-traveling abilities. She begins to explore the past.
7-9Patricia uncovers family secrets and learns valuable lessons about her family's history.
10-12Patricia navigates the challenges of growing up and finds a sense of belonging.

Main Characters


A sensitive and introspective 12-year-old girl who feels overshadowed by the memory of her deceased sister, Margot. She longs to find her place in her family and struggles with feelings of neglect.


A supportive and understanding boy who becomes Patricia's friend. He offers her companionship and a sense of belonging during a difficult time in her life.

Themes and Insights

Family Dynamics

The novel explores the complexities of family relationships, particularly in the aftermath of tragedy. Patricia's journey involves coming to terms with her sister's death and finding her own identity within her family.

Friendship and Belonging

The importance of friendship and finding a sense of belonging is a central theme in the novel. Through her friendship with Douglas, Patricia learns the value of companionship and support during challenging times.

Coping with Grief

The story delves into the theme of coping with grief and loss, portraying the different ways individuals navigate their emotions and try to move forward while holding onto cherished memories.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Handful of Time" offers readers a touching and relatable exploration of family, friendship, and the journey to self-discovery. Through Patricia's experiences, readers are reminded of the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of meaningful connections.


In "A Handful of Time," Kit Pearson skillfully weaves a heartfelt narrative that resonates with readers of all ages. The evocative setting, well-drawn characters, and timeless themes make this novel a compelling and enriching read. As readers follow Patricia's emotional journey, they are invited to reflect on their own experiences of family, friendship, and personal growth, making "A Handful of Time" a truly memorable and impactful literary work.

A Handful of Time FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'A Handful of Time'?

    A Handful of Time is a children's historical fiction novel.

  2. Who is the author of 'A Handful of Time'?

    The author of 'A Handful of Time' is Kit Pearson.

  3. What is the setting of 'A Handful of Time'?

    The story is set in the 1950s on a farm in British Columbia, Canada.

  4. What age group is 'A Handful of Time' suitable for?

    'A Handful of Time' is suitable for readers aged 9-12.

  5. What is the main theme of 'A Handful of Time'?

    The main theme of the book is family dynamics, the passage of time, and the challenges of growing up.