Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A teenage girl discovers a time portal and must navigate the dangers of the past while uncovering the secrets of her family's history.


In "An Acceptable Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, readers are transported back in time to the world of the Murry family. This captivating science fiction novel is the fifth installment in the beloved "Time Quintet" series. L'Engle's masterful storytelling combines elements of fantasy, adventure, and philosophical exploration to create a thrilling and thought-provoking reading experience.

Brief Synopsis

"An Acceptable Time" follows the journey of Polly O'Keefe, the daughter of Meg Murry and Calvin O'Keefe, as she discovers a hidden portal to the past on her family's property in rural New England. As Polly explores the ancient landscape, she encounters the mysterious inhabitants of a vanished civilization, the People of the Wind. With the help of her grandparents, Alex and Kate Murry, and the enigmatic figure of Zachary Gray, Polly unravels the secrets of the past and faces a crucial decision that could alter the course of history.

Setting: The story takes place in the present day, in a small town in New England, as well as in a prehistoric era when the People of the Wind thrived.

Main Characters

Polly O'KeefeThe protagonist, a curious and independent teenager who discovers the portal to the past
Alex MurryPolly's grandfather, a renowned physicist
Kate MurryPolly's grandmother, a microbiologist
Zachary GrayA troubled young man with a connection to the past
Meg MurryPolly's mother, a brilliant scientist and researcher
Calvin O'KeefePolly's father, a loving and supportive figure

Summary of Story Points

Chapter 1: The Hidden Portal

Polly stumbles upon a hidden portal while exploring the woods near her family's property. Intrigued, she enters the portal and finds herself transported to a prehistoric era.

Chapter 2: The People of the Wind

Polly encounters the People of the Wind, an ancient civilization that thrived in the area centuries ago. She forms a connection with them and learns about their way of life.

Chapter 3: The Time Rift

Polly's time-traveling adventures attract the attention of her grandparents, Alex and Kate. They explain the concept of a "time rift" and the dangers it poses.

Chapter 4: Zachary Gray's Revelation

Zachary Gray, a troubled young man with a mysterious past, reveals his connection to the People of the Wind and offers Polly insights into the nature of time travel.

Chapter 5: Ethical Dilemmas

As Polly spends more time in the past, she grapples with ethical dilemmas. She must decide whether to intervene in the events she witnesses or let history unfold naturally.

Chapter 6: Confronting the Time Rift

Polly and Zachary devise a plan to close the time rift and prevent further interference between the past and present. They face numerous challenges and dangers along the way.

Chapter 7: The Final Choice

Polly is faced with a pivotal decision that could have far-reaching consequences. She must choose between preserving the timeline or altering the past to save the People of the Wind.

Main Events

  1. Polly discovers the hidden portal and travels back in time.
  2. She forms a connection with the People of the Wind and learns about their civilization.
  3. Zachary Gray reveals his connection to the past and helps Polly understand the nature of time travel.
  4. Polly grapples with ethical dilemmas and must make difficult choices.
  5. She and Zachary embark on a dangerous mission to close the time rift.
  6. Polly is faced with a crucial decision that could impact the course of history.

Themes and Insights

Exploration of Time and History

"An Acceptable Time" delves into the concept of time travel and its implications. It raises questions about the ethics of altering the past and the responsibility of individuals who possess the ability to travel through time.

Ethical Dilemmas and Personal Responsibility

The novel explores the ethical dilemmas faced by Polly as she witnesses events in the past. It raises thought-provoking questions about personal responsibility and the consequences of interfering with historical events.

Interconnectedness of Past, Present, and Future

L'Engle highlights the interconnectedness of different time periods and emphasizes the importance of understanding history to shape the present and future. The characters' actions in the past have a direct impact on the present timeline.

Reader's Takeaway

"An Acceptable Time" offers readers a captivating blend of adventure, mystery, and philosophical exploration. Through the eyes of Polly, readers are invited to ponder the complexities of time, history, and personal choice. L'Engle's vivid storytelling and well-developed characters make this novel an engaging and thought-provoking read.


"An Acceptable Time" by Madeleine L'Engle is a captivating addition to the "Time Quintet" series. With its exploration of time travel, ethical dilemmas, and the interconnectedness of past, present, and future, the novel offers readers a rich and thought-provoking reading experience. L'Engle's masterful storytelling and well-crafted characters make this book a must-read for fans of science fiction and philosophical exploration.

An Acceptable Time FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'An Acceptable Time'?

    The genre of 'An Acceptable Time' is science fiction and fantasy.

  2. Who is the author of 'An Acceptable Time'?

    The author of 'An Acceptable Time' is Madeleine L'Engle.

  3. Is 'An Acceptable Time' part of a series?

    'An Acceptable Time' is the fifth and final book in the 'A Wrinkle in Time Quintet' series by Madeleine L'Engle.

  4. What is the storyline of 'An Acceptable Time'?

    'An Acceptable Time' follows the adventures of Polly O'Keefe, the daughter of Meg Murry O'Keefe and Calvin O'Keefe, as she discovers a time gate in her grandparents' backyard that takes her to the time of the ancient druids in pre-Christian England.

  5. What age group is 'An Acceptable Time' suitable for?

    'An Acceptable Time' is recommended for readers aged 12 and above.

  6. Are there any similar books to 'An Acceptable Time'?

    Fans of 'An Acceptable Time' may also enjoy other books by Madeleine L'Engle, such as 'A Wrinkle in Time', 'A Wind in the Door', 'A Swiftly Tilting Planet', and 'Many Waters', which are part of the same series.

  7. Are there any movie adaptations of 'An Acceptable Time'?

    As of now, there are no movie adaptations of 'An Acceptable Time'.

  8. Where can I purchase 'An Acceptable Time'?

    'An Acceptable Time' can be purchased online from various book retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. It may also be available at local bookstores and libraries.

  9. Is 'An Acceptable Time' a standalone book or should I read the previous books in the series first?

    'An Acceptable Time' is part of a series, but it can be enjoyed as a standalone book. However, reading the previous books in the 'A Wrinkle in Time Quintet' series may provide better context and background for the characters and their relationships.

  10. Does 'An Acceptable Time' have any awards or accolades?

    As a notable work of Madeleine L'Engle, 'An Acceptable Time' has received critical acclaim. However, it does not have any specific awards or accolades.