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Bid Time Return [Paperback]

Richard Matheson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Bid Time Return is a stunningly romantic novel of love and passion that literally transcends time, by an author far better known for his tales of science fiction and horror. Richard Matheson's premise is captivating: What if you were a dying young man, visiting a turn-of-the-century resort hotel? And what if you fell in love with a painting of a beautiful stage actress--but she had lived and died a century before? But--what if your love was so strong that you could literally will yourself back in time to become part of her world? In the tradition of the classic romantic ghost story "Portrait of Jennie," Matheson makes his two lovers totally believable, and so the undeniably fantastic premise soon becomes completely acceptable. The author would later write another unique love story--of love after death--called What Dreams May Come, that is somewhat less bittersweet. (Bid Time Return was later filmed as Somewhere in Time, and some editions are issued under that title.) --Stanley Wiater --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Tiresome Sept. 13 2003
Format:Hardcover
This was a short story padded to the gills to make it book length. That much becomes obvious midway through the book, when Matheson constantly repeats the same tired thoughts of the love-sick protagonist -- namely, that he loves and needs the actress Elise. Over and over again we are reminded of this, until I wanted to hurl the book across the room and shout, "Yes! I KNOW IT!" The love story aspect required way too much suspension of disbelief, and was far too cloying. I was practically choking on the endless dialogue and thoughts of the two lovers expressing their undying love for one another -- this after meeting approximately 12 hours earlier.
If there was a redeeming factor, it came at the end, which was touching, and maybe even explains some of the unrealistic behavior throughout the book. But I don't think two nicely written pages at the end of the book justifies two-hundred-and-seventy pages of tiresome story. It would have made a much better short story; it would have been tighter, less tedious.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "O call back yesterday..." July 12 2000
Format:Hardcover
I cannot shake off the impression that to some extent Matheson himself is the man in the hotel room, convincing himself that he can touch the past. Perhaps it was a by-product of an overwrought imagination coupled with a visit to San Diego. Or did he create a well-rounded, complete work of fiction? Disguised as a speedily chronicled delusion? This is one of a number of novels written along similar lines. Some of them are more thoroughly researched and detailed than this novel, but do not have the same emotional core. At times melodramatic, the novel nevertheless creates a touching love story. This is achieved by a disarmingly complex story structure: Richard Collier becomes willingly enmeshed in a web of inescapable fate. He must go back to Elise McKenna; it is written... In many ways the book is superior to the film, but in the screenplay the structure of the story is rearranged slightly. The pocket watch is moved and creates one of the finest paradoxes in time travel fiction. This simple alteration also serves to greatly intensify the character of Elise McKenna in a single stroke without the need for lengthy prose. I was surprised that I had to order this book on the Internet: an almost overlooked book, echoing the photograph of the young and vibrant Elise McKenna, forgotten, slowly fading away in a hotel museum, waiting patiently... I took a trip to California last year. I 'happened' to go to San Diego. I also happened to visit the Hotel Del Coronado: so curiously and specifically identified by Matheson. Why not invent a hotel along similar lines? I went to set my mind at rest. I went to fail in my attempt to find the portrait of Elise McKenna, or whatever her name may be. The 'Hall of History' was closed for refurbishment. I can be grateful for the fact that my faint delusion remains intact. I have since been told that the photograph is there...
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5.0 out of 5 stars my all-time favorite book - of any classification Sept. 19 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I first read the paperback version of "Bid Time Return" in the mid to late 70's when I was sick in bed with a fever, which may have affected my delusion that this was an actual biography - not a novel. Mr. Matheson had me completely enthralled, and wanting to believe that this story had really happened. Disappointed to learn that this was merely fiction, my next goal was to perpetuate this wonderful dream by actually visiting Hotel Del Coronado, which I did - several times. Being there only added to the wonderful atmosphere established by the book. I was thrilled when I learned that it would be made into a movie, but disappointed when I actually saw it. The main problem was that it was set in Michigan, not Coronado Island. And though the hotel was beautiful, it was just not the same. After all, Hotel del Coronado was obviously well loved and researched by Mr. Matheson and was perhaps a distant third in importance after the two main characters, Richard and Elise. Also the movie was set roughly 10 years after the novel's time period. I did love the musical score, but felt Mahler's compositions should have been included, as detailed in the book. After this book, I wanted to learn all I could about Richard Matheson, and later bought "What Dreams May Come", and liked it too, but nothing could match "Bid Time Return". I never read "The Shrinking Man", but understand that in this case the movie did live up to the book. (I remember seeing that and being deeply impressed by it back in the '50's when I was a teenager.) While searching the internet, I see there are many fans of "Somewhere in Time" and can't help but wonder how many of them read the original book. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars my all-time favorite book - of any classification Sept. 19 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I first read the paperback version of "Bid Time Return" in the mid to late 70's when I was sick in bed with a fever, which may have affected my delusion that this was an actual biography - not a novel. Mr. Matheson had me completely enthralled, and wanting to believe that this story had really happened. Disappointed to learn that this was merely fiction, my next goal was to perpetuate this wonderful dream by actually visiting Hotel Del Coronado, which I did - several times. Being there only added to the wonderful atmosphere established by the book. I was thrilled when I learned that it would be made into a movie, but disappointed when I actually saw it. The main problem was that it was set in Michigan, not Coronado Island. And though the hotel was beautiful, it was just not the same. After all, Hotel del Coronado was obviously well loved and researched by Mr. Matheson and was perhaps a distant third in importance after the two main characters, Richard and Elise. Also the movie was set roughly 10 years after the novel's time period. I did love the musical score, but felt Mahler's compositions should have been included, as detailed in the book. After this book, I wanted to learn all I could about Richard Matheson, and later bought "What Dreams May Come", and liked it too, but nothing could match "Bid Time Return". I never read "The Shrinking Man", but understand that in this case the movie did live up to the book. (I remember seeing that and being deeply impressed by it back in the '50's when I was a teenager.) While searching the internet, I see there are many fans of "Somewhere in Time" and can't help but wonder how many of them read the original book. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I didn't particularly like the book
I didn't particularly like the book. I thought the movie flowed much better and told a better story. The premise was the same but I didn't like the way it was written.
Published 2 months ago by Dory Sparber
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Love Story !!!!
Highly recommend ! The movie too called "Some where in Time" with Christopher Reeve !!!! Five star collectors movie & Book !!! Read more
Published 15 months ago by Renee Oswald
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Wonder
Time travel is possible. You too will think that after reading this book. Matheson does an excellent job of making you believe that you are indeed back in 1896. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2004 by Larry K. French
5.0 out of 5 stars Bid Time Return
I just love the book. It is a fantasy that will haunt you because we all know that everyone always dream of finding that special someone in time. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2002 by Va Thao
2.0 out of 5 stars I Preferred the Movie
Without rehashing what others have said, I thought "Somewhere in Time" was much more successful, one of the few times when a movie is much better than the book it was based on. Read more
Published on April 18 2002 by Gauffroi
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhere in Time was better.
The author wrote this novel before he wrote the screenplay for Somewhere in Time. In writing the screenplay, he was able to modify the premise of the story somewhat, making it... Read more
Published on March 16 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Not "Somewhere in Time" but a good romantic fantasy.
This novel is the basis for the classic film "Somewhere in Time" and that is one of the rare occations when the movie is better than the book. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2002 by Austin C. Beeman
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books Written!
I could not put this book down! Very well written, all though I did not like the ending very much.
Published on July 19 2001 by Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL STORY!
I did not know until after I had read the book that this was the premise for the movie Somewhere in Time. I can't wait to go get the movie. Read more
Published on March 14 2001 by Kenri A. Mugleston
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bid Time Reurn:" A New Place in My Heart
When I read the book "Bid Time Return" by Richard Matheson I got this feeling when I closed the book, satisfied with reading a good book. Read more
Published on June 16 2000 by Ingrid J.
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