Author: Janis Mackay
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Summary (from Goodreads)
Saul is on his way to the corner shop on a seemingly ordinary day, when a girl appears suddenly in the middle of the road. She does not understand traffic or the things she sees in shops, and she’s wearing a long dress with ruffled sleeves. Her name is Agatha Black.
Agatha Black is from 1813, and Saul needs to find a way to get her back to her time. With help from his buddies Will and Robbie, he tries to figure out how to make time travel happen.
There’s a lot about Saul’s disgruntled voice that will appeal to children of 8-12. His worries about whether or not he’ll get a BMX for Christmas, his frustration with his twin baby sisters and his lacklustre attitude towards school all come across in a very realistic and relatable way.
And though I know little about Scotland, let alone Scotland in 1812, because Saul rings so true, it was easy to get swept up in believing Agatha’s voice as well. The little details about life in the 19th century were interesting, and would no doubt be enough to send the more historically minded tweenager to their history books or Google to find out more.
In terms of story, it’s a fairly predictable but sweet tale of friendship and realising that money isn’t everything. There are some missed opportunities with outcast character Agnes, but otherwise it’s a heartwarming tale and one that could be enjoyed by both parents and children.
I did keep hoping when I started a new chapter that this would be the one where Saul ends up back in 1812, but that never happened – another shame, as I would have been fascinated to see Agatha’s world. But other than that, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any younger fantasy fan.