What a delightful little book: sort of Jane Eyre and Moll Flanders meet H G Wells's Time Machine and Back to the Future. I loved every ridiculous minute of it.
I felt that I had witnessed enough for one evening, but I was not to escape so readily: turning to leave, I drew in another sharp breath. For there in the corner, gleaming in the gloom, squatting four-square on the floor like a huge, elaborately carbuncled toad, was the strangest contraption I had ever seen. Claiming a quarter of the room's space, the demonic machine in whose construction Gudrun had colluded gave almost a vegetal impression, sporting as it did a leathery skin, pocked like an ostrich-hide. Lord, I half expected it to sigh and breathe!