From the beginning, this story hooks you in as all the elements of a good mystery/ ghost story emerge. We first meet Evie at the railway station, where she has ordered a large hot chocolate with marshmallows, and a doughnut with sprinkles, with her emergency money. She is very cross because her mother has married a man and they have gone off on a honeymoon WITHOUT her! Instead, she is to go to a Godmother she has never met, and stay for a week. How shocking is that! And her Godmother is seventy, probably on her last legs!
Evie’s train takes her through the countryside until finally, late at night, she arrives at the station. Her phone pings a text message, saying that Anna, her Godmother, is delayed and to take a taxi to the house. When she arrives, our heroine discovers that her new home is an enormous mansion, divided into flats. Anna arrives apologizing, and they go upstairs to Evie’s room. Anna is quite sprightly and talks about her job as a forensic anthropologist. Things just couldn’t get much worse for the young girl, who decides to go to bed.
During the night, Evie is woken by a tapping at her window. She pulls back the curtain to see a young woman in a white gown mouthing the words “Help me, please.” The young woman fades away but the girl is really shocked. She opens her door, and as she does so, feels a change in her body. She looks down and is wearing clothes of a maid from long ago. Just then, a woman comes up the stairs and says in a grim voice, “What are you doing here, get downstairs and help Polly”. She follows this with a slap to Evie’s face. Stunned, the girl begins to descend the stairs.
It becomes evident that our heroine has been transported back in time. She is a very lowly maid in a household at the great manor, but when she sees the young lady of the house, (the one who appeared at her window) she is determined to help the girl. Evie soon learns about emptying chamber pots three times a day, scrubbing fireplaces, setting fires each day and sweeping floors with a small hand brush. For a girl who has occasionally emptied the dishwasher, the endless repetitive chores, many on hands and knees, are shocking. Also shocking are the values. The other maid, Polly, tells Evie that she must not be seen carrying heavy buckets because it might make the men feel uncomfortable.
This is a fast paced, interesting story which will appeal to many young girls with spirit and a sense of fairness. No ends are left to ponder, and many times through the story, you wonder how Evie will extricate herself and return to her present time. A good read for young and old.
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|