By Helen Peters
Published by Nosy Crow
ISBN 978 0 85763 842 7
Time-slip novels have been a popular form of fiction since Alice fell down that rabbit hole. One moment the central character is in one particular time and place, and then it’s through the back of the wardrobe, through a cleft in an ancient stone circle or onto a train into a dark tunnel, and straight into another place at another time. And then the story can begin.
In Evie’s Ghost, author Helen Peters gets the set-up out of the way pretty quickly: there is simply a door, and it opens onto another world.
Thirteen-year-old Evie is standing on a platform at Victoria Station in London feeling sorry for herself and very angry with her mum, who is on her honeymoon with a new husband. Evie has been packed off to the distant countryside to stay with some godmother she doesn’t even know.
She soon finds herself in an old, creaky house with a strange, elderly woman who obviously doesn’t know anything about teenagers.
Godmother Anna sticks Evie in a cold, draughty spare room, and then goes back to her usual routine – which does not include entertaining a 13-year-old girl. This is going to be a tough few days for already unhappy Evie. Can things get any worse? Of course they can!
As she is poking around her damp and dark bedroom, Evie notices a strange message scratched into one of the windowpanes. “Sophia Fane. Imprisoned here. 27th April 1814”.
Evie’s mind starts to whirr. Who was this Sophia? And how and why was she a prisoner in the very room where Evie now has to sleep?
It isn’t long before Evie finds some of the answers to the mystery that has started to obsess her, although not in the way she might have hoped she’d solve it.
After a bad night’s sleep, Evie opens the door of her bedroom and walks straight into the year 1914 – and she is dressed as a housemaid. Immediately, she is caught up in the daily running of Charlbury House, as an overworked, put-upon servant.
But Evie knows that she has gone back in time for a reason. Somewhere in this grand mansion in the first year of the first world war, there is a terrible injustice that needs to be fixed – and Evie is the one who has to fix it.
Evie’s Ghost is an absorbing read written by an author who knows how to tell a story and keep readers entertained. Past and present weave together in this thrilling and intriguing page-turner featuring a likeable heroine and an engaging mystery.
Get in touch with our book reviewer John Millen at firstname.lastname@example.org