High Time is essentially a story of the problems faced by a mixed-race married couple and their children, and of the long quest to repair the links broken many years earlier by a family dispute.
Eight year old Ruth Reid has a major preoccupation in her life, summed up by the question she keeps asking her mother, and which her mother never answers: ‘Why don’t I have a grandma or a grandad? All my friends at school do!’
Why doesn’t Ruth’s mother answer? Partly because she thinks Ruth is too young to be told, partly because she is afraid that the answer will reopen old wounds in her heart.
Ruth’s mother, Susan, is a white working-class girl from Nottingham, who ran away to London with her boyfriend Courtney, a black immigrant from Jamaica, after constant rows with her parents, and after Courtney was assaulted in what the national newspapers termed the ‘Nottingham Race Riots’ in 1958.
But Ruth has to wait until she is an adult herself to find out the truth, and vows that one day she will be reunited with her lost grandparents.
In 1986 Ruth and her husband move to Nottingham with their little girl Emily, and as a fortuitous consequence of arranging a Christmas party with a visiting Father Christmas, her dream is finally realised. Her story is complex and captivating, and, despite some serious setbacks on the way, is ultimately resoundingly successful.