I've been meaning to tell you -- all three of you faithful readers of this blog -- about Blackout and All Clear, sci-fi author Connie Willis's two novels about Oxford history students from the near future who time travel to the London Blitz during WWII. I'm a bit of WWII history buff, particularly when it comes to the lives of civilians and ordinary people during that time. So I found these books riveting, unlike this reviewer for the Guardian, who found the books dull, meandering, and bloated with "great jellied quantities of historical research," and thought the time travel conceit "egregiously handled." (Willis doesn't really need the help of reviewers like that guy, anyway, as she is apparently a huge favourite among the sci-fi crowd.)
I found the books meandering and long, yes, but in that satisfactory way books are long when you are being immersed in a world and you don't want the experience to end. Think the Harry Potter series or some other favourite series from childhood. I had borrowed both books from the library at the same time and I'd recommend doing that, or purchasing them both at the same time, as the first one definitely had an unfinished feel on its own. I do agree with that reviewer on that one point -- they are actually one long book. Contrary to him, though, I found all the research fascinating and enjoyed Willis's devotion to describing details of life during the Blitz . The time travel story raised some questions of logic, as those sorts of stories can't help but do, but overall it was well-done. I highly recommend these books -- they certainly aren't literary fiction but they are smart and absorbing.