Rating: 5 of 5, TMBOA Recommended
Author: Robert Kerr
After years of putting their blood, sweat, and tears into renovating a Victorian era home in small town Iowa, Joe and Linda Murphy, along with their two children, celebrate the final touch of their restoration – hanging the original front door. Kept for years in the basement, the door needs professional help to bring it back to it’s former glory. Fortunately, Joe finds a local craftsman able to complete the work. The same night the door is hung, a thunderstorm moves through the area. The next morning, when the Murphys awaken, they find themselves transported back in time to the year 1909.
Robert Kerr’s Completely Restored, starts as a very unassuming book. I read the opening pages and was immediately engaged by the characters but was unprepared for how engrossed and special the story would be for me. I suppose what appealed to me was how the story enfolded so effortlessly and the magic of going to what would have initial appeared to be a simpler time and less complicated life.
After multiple failed attempts to return to their own time, the Murphys resign themselves to finding ways to adapt to life in 1909. Because very little technology such as televisions and such do not yet exist, the sense of community and family really starts to grow for the Murphys. They spend time with their neighbors sharing lemonade and cookies on the front porch; they spend time with the kids playing family games and sharing their days experiences; they make friends with locals and find hard but rewarding work; they become a closer and loving family.
But Kerr is careful not to turn this into a simple romantic view of the past by interjecting a number of plot arcs which also convey how different the rule of law, child protection, and the limitations of medicine were one hundred years ago. I encourage readers to pick a copy. The book evokes a feeling of nostalgia and desire for simpler times while at the same time making one appreciate the things they have today.