All Clear #2. Author: Connie Willis.
In Blackout, award-winning author Connie Willis returned to the time-traveling future of 2060—the setting for several of her most celebrated works—and sent three Oxford historians to World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler’s bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.
Now the situation has grown even more dire. Small discrepancies in the historical record seem to indicate that one or all of them have somehow affected the past, changing the outcome of the war. The belief that the past can be observed but never altered has always been a core belief of time-travel theory—but suddenly it seems that the theory is horribly, tragically wrong.
Meanwhile, in 2060 Oxford, the historians’ supervisor, Mr. Dunworthy, and seventeen-year-old Colin Templer, who nurses a powerful crush on Polly, are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle of their own—to find three missing needles in the haystack of history.
My one and only complaint is that a slightly longer ending would have been nice. There’s so much tension and suspense ratcheted up tight that you really need a few pages at least to unwind it.
Sexual Content: Woman describing an officer: “Eight hands and cannot keep any of them to himself,”. / Character hired on stage is dancing in a ‘costume like a bathing suit’, and the soldiers are mostly interested in her ‘abbreviated costume’./ Some kissing during an acted scene./ “It was slo her job to come out on stage in a very short skirt when the sirens sounded, turn her back to the audience, bend over, and flip up the back of her skirt to reveal satin bloomers on which were sewn red flannel letters spelling out “Air Raid in Progress”.
Language: 18 bloody, 10 d***, 17 hell, 7 derogatory terms.
Violence: Nurse rescues a man with a mangled leg who’d been caught in a blast. The story is still set in the blitz, and as such, there are multiple instances throughout the book of bombs falling, characters walking past destroyed buildings or whole streets, seeing obituaries in the paper or hearing of people they knew who vanished one night, and feeling the ground shake/hearing the boom of a missile. One character gets drafted into working as an ambulance driver during the St. Paul’s fire and as such sees multiple wounded and dying people.