The Secret Lake, by Karen Inglis, for Timeslip Tuesday

Just up the street from me is a strange little shop that sells junk, ostensibly raising money for animals.  As a used book hunter, it is both a great place to visit--I've had some good luck, and a horrible one--the children's books are in bins.  Big bins, overflowing.  Which means an awful lot of work is needed to go through them.  Nevertheless, I persist, and on my most recent trip I found an English time travel book for kids--The Secret Lake, by Karen Inglis (May 2018, Well Said Press, which is the author's own press).

It's the story of two kids, Stella and Tom who move into a flat next to a lovely public garden.  There they find a tunnel that takes them down and out again into the past.  They meet a boy, Jack, who's suspected of being a thief, and believe in his innocence.  They also meet two girls who live in the very house where their flat is, and the youngest, Emma, becomes an ally.  They also meet in the past a dog they know in the present, who's always causing much distress for her owner, a very old woman, by constantly running away.

Stella and Tom help Jack clear his name, and return to their own time.  There they realize the old woman and her dog know about the time tunnel too....

It's a perfectly fine story, that I didn't mind reading at all, but which didn't move me much.  The author tries hard for the emotional weight that makes many of the best known time-slip stories (like Tom's Midnight Garden and Charlotte Sometimes) so very memorable, and though the effort is plain to see, the emotional heft didn't feel quite earned.  The fact that unexplained magic moles are responsible for the time travel perhaps contributed to this feeling.  The fact that the time travel experience was very easy, with little fraughtness or distress, resulting in little emotional growth for the two kids, was certainly a contributor.  

Short answer--not a bad book, but not a classic in the making. Perhaps kids who haven't read the great ones will be more satisfied than I was.

1 comment:

  1. I guess persistence doesn't always pay off. Digging through all those books just to find a mediocre one must be frustrating. Maybe the next find will be a gem. Thanks for telling me about this one.


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