Mazemaker, by Catherine Dexter, for Timeslip Tuesday

Mazemaker, by Catherine Dexter (1989), sounded like it would be just the sort of time travel book I like--a girl follows a cat along the lines of a labyrinth spray painted on a school playground, and finds herself back in the garden of a 19th century house...in an overgrown maze.  She makes friends with girl who lives there, copes with strange clothes and other issues concomitant with time travel, and figures out some of the history behind the maze and its magic, thwarting a bitter older woman who wants to use the magic for her own purposes.  And then she goes home, wiser and more appreciative.

But...Winnie, the heroine, was never particularly likable.  I can't quite put my finger on why not--perhaps because when the story begins, she is being rather mean to her poor tired mother, trying to cope in an urban setting with a small baby, but more likely because she wasn't noticing enough, perhaps, to make me feel much of anything toward her.   I never particularly wanted to be friends with her.  And the garden was disappointing--all full of mosquitoes and nasty swamp pond, and not lovely.  And the old house wasn't sufficiently described in loving detail...

So the plot was just fine, with nice mysterious elements, and the menace posed by the woman wanting to use the magic for herself made it somewhat gripping.  But emotionally it felt a little flat.  Perhaps a book that I would have enjoyed more as a child myself, though I do think it would never have been one that hit me hard.

Something you wouldn't find in a book written today, and strikes me as odd--12 year old Winnie's best friend is a boy a year younger, and at one point they spend the night in a backyard tent together.   I'm all for boys and girls having innocent friendships, but my eyebrows raised...

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me a little of The Freedom Maze--time travel, a labyrinth, a swamp... Sounds like this one has a heroine not as likable as the other though, and that's usually a deal-breaker.


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