The five teenagers in this fantasy novel lead a very ordered, uncomplicated, limited existence in a beautiful manor. The story is set in Victorian times, which is reflected in the innocence of the teenager’s ways and the acceptance of their life style. Inside the manor, the powerful master joins them at dinner time only, and has extreme punishments for those who question him. The kindly house keeper provides for the needs of the young ones, and shows regard for them.
It becomes evident that playing hide and seeks, or croquet everyday has lost its novelty. Penny, in particular becomes restless and even though Tressa is the leader of the group, Penny finds herself dissatisfied and questioning. Penny wants to know why the Manor grounds are surrounded by a “Boundary” which no one can pass, and why they can’t pass it.
Also the children have had lessons in the Library since they were small, and gradually books have begun to disappear, books which may have held answers to their questions. Penny has begun to have strange dreams which are repeated and somehow familiar.
At fifteen years of age, Penny is not prepared to accept these mysteries, and confides in their housekeeper/ carer; Beatrix who realises Penny will no longer conform to the rules, and gives her a key to a secret room. The other teenagers Tressa, Avery, Fred and Evelyn, are totally unaware of what Penny is doing as she explores the secret room, discovering a machine with a lever.
Once Penny pulls the lever, everything changes. There are tests to be passed clues to guess at, secret letters and the unexplained death of their only friend Beatrix. There is tension and anger between the group until they realise maintaining their friendship is one of the tests. They will need to be loyal to each other, but this becomes harder when they realise that not all of them will escape.
For teenagers and older readers who love fantasy, this is an original and interesting idea. Book one has set the scene for the escapee who has landed in the modern world and has to come to terms with….Everything.
|Author||Mary Victoria Johnson|