An Acceptable Time

An Acceptable Time is the final book in Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet, the series that began with the Newbery Award winner A Wrinkle in Time.

A flash of lightning, quivering ground, and, instead of her grandparents’ farm, Polly sees mist and jagged mountains — and coming toward her, a group of young men carrying spears. Why has a time gate opened and dropped Polly into a world that existed 3,000 years ago? Will she be able to get back to the present before the time gate closes — and leaves her to face a group of people who believe in human sacrifice?

Originally published in 1989.

Genre: Middle grade
Science fiction/fantasy

Other Books in the Series

‘An Acceptable Time’ is the fifth and last book in L’Engle’s The Time Quintet, which also includes:

An Acceptable Time

Audio Excerpt


“When Polly O’Keefe visits her grandparents in Connecticut, she finds herself caught up in the lives of three mysterious strangers [who lived] 3,000 years ago… L’Engle has again achieved the award-winning style of A Wrinkle in Time.”

Polly O’Keefe, back for another adventure, is called into the prehistory of the druids… [L’Engle’s] storytelling skill (a blend of practiced writing and theological roving) will carry even nonbelievers along while–in her attempt to reconcile pagan with Christian belief–the notion that Christ existed long before the historical Jesus is superbly debated.”
―Kirkus Review, 1989

“For this time-slip novel, L’Engle again reaches into her bag of weird and wonderful knowledge, blending snippets of tantalizing information from a variety of disciplines–history, natural history, physics and Christian metaphysics, to name a few–into a rich and heady brew… This fine fantasy, firmly rooted in reality, is the kind of thoughtful story at which L’Engle excels.”
―Publishers Weekly, 1989

“Polly is brave and kind and independent and the story rewards her for being all these things.”
―Deborah, Goodreads, 2017


“A Time to Kill, A Time to Heal”
Meghan Miller, 2012 / Forever Young Adult

“Sacrifice and Time Travel: An Acceptable Time”
Mari Ness, 2012 / TOR

“An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle”
Doug Merrill, 2017 / The Frumious Consortium Blog