The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder

Rated 4.86/5 based on 7 reviews
In the early twentieth century, Thomas Andrews is building the most beautiful ship in the world. On her maiden voyage, she hits an iceberg and sinks to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

When a time travel accident sends two people from the twenty-first century back to 1906, Tom is given an opportunity unlike any other: build his ship so she can survive, and save 1500 lives.

Including his own. More
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About Marlene Dotterer

Born in Tucson, Arizona, Marlene Dotterer lived there until the day she loaded her five children into her station wagon, and drove north-west to the San Francisco Bay Area. Since then, she has earned a degree in geology, worked in nuclear waste, run her own business as a personal chef, and now teaches natural childbirth classes. She writes, “to silence the voices,” obsessed with the possibilities of other worlds and other times.

Her website is

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Reviews of The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder by Marlene Dotterer

resonant reviewed on Sep. 24, 2014

Very good. I like how the book covers the issues time-travelers would face in dealing with sexism, lack of papers, and other problems that are not always considered.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)
Sheridan Robbins reviewed on March 2, 2013

This is an awesome story, very vibrant. I really loved the characters especially casey who was intelligent and relatable. I also learnt quite a bit about the titanic and the building of it and the circumstances surrounding it.

The only thing that upset me was that I definitely think there should have been, one more chapter slotted between the last and the second last... but that may just be me.

Great story!!!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Joan Szechtman reviewed on Aug. 24, 2012

THE TIME TRAVEL JOURNALS: SHIPBUILDER by Marlene Dotterer is a masterful combination of Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Romance set mostly in early 20th-century Belfast, Ireland.

The story starts with Sam, a 60 year-old physicist making one last attempt at proving that he and his team had been able to send objects back in time in order to secure the project’s funding. Just as he turned on his time travel apparatus, Casey, a postgraduate student enters the field and they are both sent back a 100 years to Belfast in 1906, two years before the orders to build the Titanic.

The characters, early 20th-century culture, religious conflict, and Belfast came to life on the pages of Dotterer’s book. For me, there was just the right balance between putting the reader in Belfast and feeling the events through the main character’s eyes. Although there were some expository scenes where Sam explains a technical or cultural detail unfamiliar to Casey, those scenes do move the story and character forward and did not slow down the pace of the story.

Ever since I read “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” I’ve loved time travel novels—so much so that I will look past smoke and mirrors to enjoy a good story. I am happy to report, that not only is SHIPBUILDER a very good story, but this is one of the few books that handle the issues surrounding time travel intelligently and plausibly. Since the time travel aspect is part of the story, and not just an enabler, this is especially important. I could see that Dotterer put as much thought and research into time travel as she did for the Titanic, Belfast, and Irish culture.

I am looking forward to BRIDGEBUILDERS, the second book in THE TIME TRAVEL JOURNALS.

Note: I had originally purchased the ebook at B&N. This review is based on that edition. The author gave me a coupon so that I could place my review here.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Katie Hale reviewed on March 28, 2012
(no rating)
Do you ever surprise yourself by getting so drawn into a book that you are gritting your teeth when the characters are, crying when they are and in the end, you close the last page and wonder what happened to them "after"? This is the book for you if that's what you like!

The Time Travelers Journals: Shipbuilder by Marlene Dotterer is a one of a kind book that brings romance, science fiction and historical events all together into a whirlwind of suspense, love and desire. You fall immediately into the story as Physicist Sam Altair walks away from his office with a time machine with the intent of proving to the scoffers that his experiments really can and will work. Casey Wilson is a beautiful red head a continent away from her home of Berkley, California to study her passion of horticulture at the infamous Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland. Some would say it was the wrong place at the wrong time, others would say it was divine intervention. Sam and Casey only know their encounter leaves them 100 years earlier in a time far different from their own.

Faced with the inability to easily travel back to their "home time" of 2006, they must adapt to the world around them. An American finding work in a struggling Ireland, and a woman at that, leaves Casey resorting to means she feels guilt for but thankfulness as well as she manages to put a roof over their head, provide Sam with much needed medical care and eventually a connection to work of his own. In the process of this incredible transport back in time, Casey and Sam find themselves caught up in the days and years before the launch of the Titanic and faced with the choice of calling out a warning or keeping quiet the truth they know of the future and it's tragedies.

I was amazed at the fluid way Marlene Dotterer wove a tale of suspense, romance and drastic change to our current lives via effect of time travel into a story I could barely put down long enough to feed my family! If I was a wee bit late turning in school assignments that week, it was merely because I couldn't stop reading THIS long enough to read my school books!!! I fell in love with the characters, was impressed with the technical parts about shipbuilding as well as the physics of time travel that were included, and the historical characters included as bit parts (Albert Einstein) made me giggle and smile at what we perceive someone famous could have been like. This book gets 5 stars from me and is definitely written by an author I look forward to reading from again!
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
Darke Conteur reviewed on March 17, 2012

What if you were accidentally thrown back in time a hundred years, would you willing try to change events? Or would you try to blend in with society as best as you could?

This is the dilemma faced by Sam Altair and Casey Wilson when they are thrown back to turn of the century Ireland. It's the turn of the century and Ireland is a country of turmoil. The hatred between Catholics and Protestants is rampant and one of the worse maritime disasters—the sinking of the Titanic, is just a few years away.

With knowledge of future events, Sam and Casey try to accustomed themselves to their new lifestyle, but when Casey falls in love with the designer of the ill-fated ship, they are both torn between saving his life and possible altering the timeline, or let history repeat itself.

I'm not a fan of alternate timeline stories but this was more than just a 'what if' story, it's heart-wrenching story of a life that was cut short in one timeline, and given a second chance in another.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Sandra Keys reviewed on Feb. 25, 2012

Oh, wow where do I start? I loved this whole book, the concept of the time travelling, and of course one of my favourite subjects in it The Titanic.
Casey is the "innocent bystander" in this really just walking through some gardens where the scientist Sam Altair is setting up his time travel experiment wanting to send a tree back in time. Casey happens to suddenly be near that tree so Sam runs out to warn her and they both end up being sent back in time.
There they have a choice of trying to prevent certain events from happening. Quite by accident Casey meets Thomas Andrews the man behind the design and building specifications of the Titanic. After much deliberation and discussion Casey and Sam decide to try to intervene and if nothing else prevent some of the lives being lost on the Titanic. I do not wish to give-away too much of the actual story, you will have to read the book to find out what happens to Casey and Sam and how they become involved with Thomas andrews and the Titanic.
I loved the descriptions in the book, the details, the history and the plot/stories made up around the actual true history of Titanic. I enjoyed the fact that Thomas Andrews was in fact a real person, such a shame we cannot go back in time to save everyone that perished the awful night that the "unsinkable" ship sank.
I loved learning about the fashions of the time, all those extra buttons etc as well as the customers and social etiquettes of the time too. What women were expected to do and more importantly not to do.
I would recommend this to those who like books with, romance, and historical elements to it too.This book is the complete story although I suppose there could be a bk two that would follow the young present day Sam, but I would be worried it would spoil this first excellent book. So to sum that one up I am a bit unsure if I would really want a bk 2 or not having said that if one came out I would definitely have to read it.
So did I like it? Love it Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Elisa Taylor reviewed on Feb. 15, 2012

This book SO needs to be made into a move. Loved it, and I'm really picky. Can't wait for the sequel.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
Helmy Kusuma reviewed on Oct. 2, 2011

Marlene has done a wonderful job on weaving the tale of Titanic with that of science-fiction gizmos.
She patiently built the story event by event, not rushing, but not losing the tempo. I've been taken on a tour of 20th Century Irish: its landscape, its social structure and its problems
I am reminded of Pearl S. Buck.
Great book!! Will definitely read Bridgebuilder!
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)

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