[Drs. Kate and Alex Murry and their children: Meg, twins Sandy
& Dennys, and Charles Wallace Murray; also featuring Calvin
O'Keefe, who marries Meg prior to the events of A Swiftly Tilting
- A Wrinkle in Time
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1962]. Newbery Award
winner, 1962. Meg, Charles Wallace and new friend Calvin rescue
Meg's father from the evil planet Camazotz, aided by the mysterious
travelers Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which.
- A Wind in the Door
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973] Meg and Calvin go inside
one of Charles Wallace's mitochondria, accompanied by a farandola,
a cherubim and school principal Mr. Jenkins, to save Charles
from the evil Echthroi.
- Many Waters [Farrar,
Straus & Giroux, 1986] A few words typed on their mother's
computer send Sandy & Dennys to the time of Noah, where both
mundane and supernatural dangers await them.
- A Swiftly Tilting Planet
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1978] American Book Award
winner. Newly married Meg O'Keefe takes a telepathic journey
with her youngest brother as Charles Wallace rides a unicorn
through time in a quest to save the world.
- An Acceptable Time
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989) Meg's daughter
Polly O'Keefe visits Meg's parents in Connecticut, where she
is reunited with Zachary Grey and she takes a journey into Earth's
distant past. This is the fifth of the "quintet" but
more properly part of the O'Keefe series of books.
[Dr .Calvin O'Keefe, his wife Meg and their children, Polly [a.k.a.
Polyhymnia or Poly], Charles, Sandy, Dennys, Peggy, Johnny and
Rosy. Poly (later Polly) is the primary protagonist of most of
these stories, sometimes accompanied by her brother Charles.]
- The Arm of the Starfish
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965] Adam Eddington
is sent for a summer internship with marine biologist Dr. Calvin
O'Keefe, only to become embroiled in a web of danger and intrigue,
unable to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
- Dragons in the Waters
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1976] Simon Renier,
Poly and Charles encounter murder and attempted murder as Simon
accompanies a family portrait of Bolivar and a mysterious long-lost
cousin on a ship to South America.
- A House Like a Lotus
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1984] On a trip to
Athens and Cyprus, Polly must deal with memories of betrayal
by her mentor, Maximiliana Horne, as well with as the advances
of Zachary Gray.
- An Acceptable Time
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989) Polly visits her
maternal grandparents in Connecticut, where she is reunited with
Zachary Gray, with whom she takes a journey into Earth's distant
[Dr. Wallace Austin, wife Victoria, children John, Vicky, Suzy
and Rob, sometimes with temporary ward Maggy Hamilton. Vicky is
usually the primary protagonist and narrative voice.]
- The Twenty-Four Days Before
Christmas [Harold Shaw Publishers, 1964, 1984]
Seven-year-old Vicky's major role in a Christmas pageant is threatened
by winter weather and the imminent delivery of her baby brother
in this short fiction prequel to Meet the Austins, written
for younger readers.
- "A Full House: An Austin
Family Christmas" [Harold Shaw Publishers,
1999; previously appeared in the Christmas collectionsWinter
Song (Shaw, 1996) and Miracle on 10th Street (Shaw,
1998) as "A Full House: An Austin Family Story."] A
former babysitter to the Austin family turns up on christmas
Eve, pregnant and with no place to go. the story takes place
about two years before Meet the Austins.
- Meet the Austins
[Vanguard Press, 1960] The Austin family is disrupted
when spoiled, newly-orphaned Maggy Hamilton comes to live with
them in their large country home. This was the first volume published
in the series.
- The Anti-Muffins
[The Pilgrim Press, 1980] Maggy is proposed as a new
member of the Anti-Muffin Club after a courageous act at Sunday
School in this short fiction companion story to Meet the Austins,
written for younger readers. (This story was later added back
in to the most recent hardback edition of Meet the Austins,
from which it had been cut before the novel's first publication
- The Moon by Night
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1963] Vicky is pursued
by handsome but troubled Zachary Gray as the Austins take a cross
country trip to soften the transition between life in the country
and their new life in New York City.
- The Young Unicorns
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968] The Austins, along
with Josiah "Dave" Davidson and blind prodigy Emily
Gregory, are drawn into danger as Dr Austin's work with lasers
is put to evil use by the Alphabat gang's mysterious masters.
Canon Tallis and Mr. Theotocopoulos help to set things right.
- A Ring of Endless Light
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1980] A Newbery
Honor Book. Vicky is seemingly surrounded by death and impending
death as she works with dolphins with guilt-scarred Adam Eddington,
dates the orphaned Leo Rodney and self-destructive Zachary Gray,
and watches the progress of her Grandfather's cancer.
- Troubling a Star
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994] Vicky's friendship
with Adam Eddington and his Aunt Serena leads to strange letters,
mysterious threats and mortal danger when Aunt Serena sends Vicky
on a trip to Antarctica.
- A Severed Wasp
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1982] See next series
below. Dr. Suzy Davidson (Suzy Austin) appears, along with her
husband Dave Davidson and their children.
A Chronological Reading Order
At one time I had hopes of not only placing Madeleine L'Engle's
books in chronological order, but also of figuring out approximately
what year each one takes place. I gradually came to realize that
the latter simply can't be done. Being written over a 50+ year
period, the various books tend to be products of their time,
taking place either a few years before the year of publication
(especially in the case of the early books) or five to ten years
after year of publication (especially the Murry-O'Keefe and Austin
books). This inevitably has led to contradictory year-specific
references such as "the end of the 20th century" and
how long ago man first man set foot on the moon. This is why
the family trees printed in Many Waters and elsewhere
refer to chronos (year-oriented time) and Kairos (celestial,
Is it possible to read all of L'Engle's interconnected novels
in order? Well, yes, more or less, as long as you don't worry
too much about the exact order of her earliest novels, the exact
placement of A Live Coal in the Sea or the proper
order of The Arm of the Starfish and The
Moon By Night, which take place at the same time. Generally,
though, it's fairly easy to put the three main series of books
in order, because of the fairly consistent age references to
the Murry, O'Keefe and Austin children as they grow up from book
to book. Technically, most Madeleine L'Engle's other novels connect
with the Murry-O'Keefe family or the Austin family at some point.
But if you want to read just the books from the three main series
in the order they take place, here's the order in which to read
- A Wrinkle in Time (Murry family)
- A Wind in the Door (Murry family)
- Many Waters (Murry family)
- A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Murry family) (O'Keefe
- The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas (Austin
- A Full House: An Austin Family Christmas (Austin
- Meet the Austins (Austin family)
- The Anti-Muffins (Austin family)
- The Moon by Night (Austin family)
- The Arm of the Starfish (O'Keefe family) (same
summer as The Moon by Night)
- The Young Unicorns (Austin family)
- A Ring of Endless Light (Austin family)
- Troubling a Star (Austin family)
- Dragons in the Waters (O'Keefe family)
- A House Like a Lotus (O'Keefe family)
- An Acceptable Time (Murry family) (O'Keefe
- A Severed Wasp (Austin family, sort of)
Books that take place before
A Wrinkle in Time (chronological order approximate):
- Ilsa (Porcher family)
- The Other Side of the Sun (Renier family)
- A Small Rain (Katherine Forrester)
- The Other Dog (Touché L'Engle-Franklin
and family; no crossovers)
- And Both Were Young (Philippa Hunter)
- Camilla Dickenson (Camilla)
- A Winter's Love (Porcher family, Mimi Oppenheimer)
- The Love Letters (Charlotte Napier)
Books that take place between
An Acceptable Time and A Severed Wasp
(chronological order approximate):
- Certain Women (Wheaton family)
- A Live Coal in the Sea (Camilla)
[Katherine Forrester, her family, friends and acquaintances
over a 50-60 year period. Katherine's friend Felix Bodeway is
prominent in both books.]
- The Small Rain
[Vanguard Press, 1945; Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
1984. Also published as Prelude, Vanguard Press,
1968] Katherine Forrester is reunited with her pianist mother
only to lose her again, and later goes to boarding school and
back to New York City, finding love and betrayal on the way while
remaining true to her own musical talent.
- A Severed Wasp
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1982] Now widowed and
semi-retired, Katherine Forrester Vigneras recalls the events
of her life as she is drawn into present-day intrigues and dangers
at a Cathedral in New York City. Characters from The Young
Unicorns appear in this book, a generation older.
[Camilla Dickinson, daughter of Rose Dickinson, who initially
falls in love with Frank Rowan but later marries his frien,d Macarios
Xanthakos. As with the Katherine Forrester Vigneras books, the
two books about Camilla take place many decades apart.]
- Camilla Dickinson
[Simon and Schuster, 1951; republished as Camilla
by Delacourte Press, 1965?, 1981] Camilla falls in love
for the first time as she faces her mother's marital infidelity
and suicide attempt.
- A Live Coal in the Sea
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996] Adult novel.
Elderly astronomer Dr. Camilla Dickinson recalls the events of
her long life when her granddaughter Raffi asks about the true
parentage of Raffi's troubled soap star father.
[Note: unlike the various series listings, the section below
is in order of publication. Since the books in this grouping are
connected only loosely, a chronological order from the characters'
standpoint would be difficult at best.]
- 18 Washington Square, South:
A Comedy in One Act * [Baker's Plays, 1944]. One
act play, based in New York City. Plot and characters unknown.
- Ilsa [Vanguard
Press, 1946] Henry Porcher falls in love with Ilsa Brandes despite
enmity between their parents, and spends many years pining for
her as they maintain a platonic friendship through a variety
of catastrophic events. A descendent of Henry's later marries
Virginia Bowen (A Winter's Love, A House Like
- And Both Were Young
[Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co, 1949] Separated from
her beloved artist father and stuck in a hated boarding school,
Philippa "Flip" Hunter secretly trains for a ski tournament
with handsome war orphan Paul Laurens and her favorite teacher.
- A Winter's Love
[Lippincott, 1957, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1997] Emily Bowen
falls in love with a family friend as she, her husband and her
daughter Virginia face poverty and failure in a chalet above
a remote Alpine village.
- The Love Letters
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1966, Harold Shaw Publishers,
1996] Fleeing her husband's harsh words after the accidental
death of their son, Charlotte Napier seeks refuge and a "point
of reference" in Portugal from her mother-in-law and the
letters of a long-dead nun who loved unwisely. Also published
as Love Letters.
- The Other Side of the Sun
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1971] Elderly Stella
Renier recalls the early days of her marriage in the South, when
hooded men on both sides of the color barrier threatened Stella
and the people she came to love.
- Certain Women
[Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992] Emma Wheaton faces
both her past and her future as she attends the bedside of her
- The Other Dog
[Seastar Books, 2001] Touché the poodle can't figure out
why Madeleine and Hugh have brought home a second dog named Jo,
of that strange breed known as "baby." Nominally a
picture book for ages 4-8, it also has a nice little non-fiction
- The Joys of Love
Straus & Giroux, 2008] A 20-year-old budding actress, Elizabeth,
joins a summer-stock company as an apprentice, "where over one pivotal
weekend she learns about acting, friendship, betrayal and
"Poor Little Saturday"
"Poor Little Saturday" is a short story that first
saw publication in the sf magazine Fantastic Science Fiction,
Volume 6, No. 3 in October 1956. It is about a little boy with
malaria who meets a mysterious witch woman, her ward and her
camel in a supposedly deserted mansion in the Deep South. The
story has since been reprinted in the following short story anthologies:
- Visions of Fantasy: Tales from the Masters
[Doubleday, 1989] Edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H Greenberg.
Pretty good collection of 12 short stories, including Anne McCaffrey's
"The Smallest Dragonboy."
- Mistresses of the Dark: 25 Macabre Tales [Barnes
& Noble Books, 1998] Editors unknown. A collection of 25
dark fantasy "disturbing tales" by Shirley Jackson,
Doris Lessing, Ursula K LeGuin and other female writers.
- Isaac Asimov's Magical Worlds of Fantasy: Witches &
Wizards: 24 Classic Spellbinding Stories and Bewitching Tales
[Bonanza, 1983]. This apparently existed as one hardcover book
(as Witches & Wizards) and as one of a pair of paperback
books (Isaac Asimov's Magical Worlds of Fantasy: Witches,
with the non-L'Engle volume being Wizards).
- The Mists From Beyond: 20 Ghost Stories & Tales
From the Other Side [Editors and publisher unknown, 1993].
Hardcover and paperback anthology of ghost stories by Fritz Leiber,
Harlan Ellison and others. I'm assuming that the L'Engle story
is "Poor Little Saturday" again, but I don't know this
for a fact.
- Great American Ghost Stories, Volume One [date
and publisher unknown] .edited by Frank D McSherry, Jr, Charles
G Waugh, and Martin H Greenberg. Lovecraft, Ellison and others.
[Short fiction on Biblical themes, plus retellings of stories
from the Bible, listed in order of publication.]
A NOTE ON EDITIONS
Sooner or later, the serious collector faces the question of
whether to upgrade to different editions of the same book, or
even to try to own them all. For example, one might upgrade from
a Dell Yearling copy of A Wrinkle in Time to an ex-library
hardback. So far so good, but now what? Do you go after an early
printing of the hardback with the original cover, one that never
saw the inside of a public library? Do you bid on an early book
club edition, dated 1962, with no Newbery medal on the dust jacket?
Do you hold out for a first edition? What about the 25th Anniversary
edition, signed and limited to 500 copies? Or the Advanced Reading
Copy (review copy) editions of later novels? Only you can answer
those questions, but I'll tell you this much: there are a LOT
of editions of most of these books, especially A Wrinkle in
Time, and most of the Dell paperback editions will never be
worth much except as reading copies. You can try for all the different
covers Dell has used over the years, and probably succeed for
not too much money. But I'm not going to try to list every paperback
edition, okay? If you're going to read these books over and over,
as I do, invest in hardback copies. They'll last longer!
Because three of the other major Madeleine L'Engle Web sites
already do a great job of linking to all sorts of online references
to Madeleine L'Engle (Wheaton College, publishers, reviews, articles,
etc.), I'm going to stick to the basics here. Any of the links below are great jumping-off
points for exploring on your own:
Other Madeleine L'Engle Web Pages:
Nearly everything on this page from here on down needs to be updated. I hope to take care of this update soon.
The Official Madeleine L'Engle Website [http://www.madeleinelengle.com/]
is not very big, but until recently it was nicely laid out and reasonably up-to-date. It is currently a single page, with a Facebook feed and a notice that the site is being redesigned for 2012. At least one member of Madeleine L'Engle's family is personally involved with the official web site.
Flying Dreams [http://flyingdreams.home.mindspring.com/lengle.htm] is brief but helpful, with great links and a thorough synopsis of LEngle's novel Ilsa.
Wheaton College: About the Author [http://www.wheaton.edu/learnres/ARCSC/collects/sc03/bio.htm] is the bio that goes with L'Engle's collection of papers at Wheaton College.
Bonastra -- The Madeleine L'Engle WWW Resource [http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/8838],
designed and maintained by Chris Smith, is all that the site's
title promises and more. Whether you're looking to participate
in an email discussion group about Madeleine L'Engle, read reviews
of her books and public appearances, or find out what has been
published about her life and work by other people, Chris has it
covered. The site also has searchable L'Engle book collectors'
databases via www.bibliofind.com and the database of Advanced
Book Exchange. Overall, this is the very best L'Engle resource
online. I especially recommend the site to L'Engle fans interested
in signing on to discuss Madeleine L'Engle's books and related
subjects with the Bonastra e-mail discussion group.
Online Bookstores and Collectors'
is an excellent online source for L'Engle books. They carry
everything in print, generally at slightly below retail price,
and even carry readers' reviews of many of the books. They also
have used books both at auction and at set sale (zShops) offered
by sellers around the country (and presumably elsewhere). In
addition, Amazon does searches for many of the out of print titles
(often offering the result at rather high prices, unfortunately). |
is another great online source for L'Engle books. eBay sellers
from around the world auction off used books and practically
everything else a collector might want, from toys to paintings
to country estates. Winning bids can be quite reasonable for
paperbacks and most of the non-fiction, but don't expect to win
a copy of Ilsa at auction unless you have hundreds of
dollars to spend. |
| ||Book Stacks Unlimited, Inc., another online
bookstore, can be found at www.books.com.
The main advantage over amazon.com is substantial price discounts
on many of the titles. |
| ||Books-Rare: The Book Collector's Home
is not simply an online bookstore, but also provides "'collecting'
information and education." Considered "one of the
world's busiest WEB sites in the Arts category." Sounds
good to me, and although I haven't you used this site myself,
I fully intend to do so very soon. |
| ||Powell's Books [www.powells.com]
is a chain of bookstores based in Portland, OR. Their combined
inventory of new and used books can be ordered directly online.
So far I've ordered and received two books from them, including
one rather rare title. |
||Fantastic Fiction [http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/l/madeleine-lengle/]
has a brief L'Engle biography and a well-organizard bibliography.
Clicking on a title takes you to a page with links to copies of the
book currently being offered for sale. Excellent!
|L'Engle's primary hardback publisher ever since A Wrinkle in Time, Farrar, Straus & Giroux did not have much of a web presence until recently. L'Engle is profiled on their children's site at http://www.fsgkidsbooks.com/. Two of her books are listed on the adult site, but other than that she's not even mentioned.
| ||Publishers of Dell Laurel-Leaf paperbacks of the Austin series, the Murry-O'Keefe
books and other paperbacks for children and young
adults. Random House also publishes the Dell Yearling editions
of The Time Quartet
and The 24 Days Before Christmas.
Their web site has pictures and text about their many L'Engle
books. Back when the web site was called BDD.com they used
to have a brief biography of Madeleine
L'Engle, and even a RealAudio message from Madeleine to her
readers, but that's long gone. |
| ||Publishers of The
Crosswicks Journals, Glimpses
of Grace, and Certain
Women . Hint: if you use the Search function,
use the word "Madeleine" because it doesn't find L'Engle.
She's in the Popular
Authors Part 3 page of the HarperSanFrancisco section. |
This page copyright 1997-2011 by Karen Funk Blocher. This
page last updated 10/8/11.