CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 19 . . . . May 26, 2000
It looked like a seamless sheet of luminous green. It streamed from her feet and stretched away from her to the moon's horizon, vast and flat and paper-thin. Above it, the blackness swallowing the moon paused and left one curved blade of light in the western sky. All around it, the fierce stars shivered and halted in their courses. Time seemed to stop and hold its breath.Joanne Findon is a Celtic scholar and university lecturer who has written The Dream of Aengus and Auld Lang Syne. This, her first novel for older children, centers on a young girl, Holly, who is going through an emotionally turbulent time. While her parents are trying to work out their marital differences, she is left with relatives in England. Holly can only find solace by playing her flute. One day, she finds a pot in the old barn, accidentally breaks the pot and is transported in time to 700 BCE where she meets a wolf boy, Evaken, who lives in a world in which Borekarek is the great sorcerer. These people had called for the Marigi, someone who can save them from their enemies, and they believe that Holly can do so. Strong emotional events pull Holly back and forth in time against her will, and the tension between Holly and her cousin Frederick is realistically portrayed. In the course of these events, Holly begins to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding her and her family.
Although Findon writes in a very lyrical manner and many of the details of the fantasy are compelling, there are moments of clumsiness in the narrative. When Holly tells Borekarek that he has to share the land with his enemies as the solution to the warfare, the dialogue is especially stilted. Also, a power tool is taken from the present into the past, a happening which really goes against all of the "rules" of fantasy. Findon's writing is like that of Phillippa Pearce's in her classic fantasy time-slip, Tom's Midnight Garden. Like Pearce, she creates a richly imaginative, compelling and mysterious world. This is a satisfying novel and would provoke discussion about the issues of fate and choice in human existence.
Recommended with Reservations.
Lorraine Douglas is the Administrative Coordinator of Youth Services, Winnipeg Public Library.
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