LONGLIST REVIEW: Evie's Ghost

Evie’s mother has ‘abandoned’ her to the care of an eccentric, apparently disinterested and none too domesticated godmother while she ‘disappears’ on a 5 day honeymoon with an ‘attention stealing’ new husband. On arrival at the huge and frankly scary mansion where she is to suffer her mother’s absence, just about the worst thing that can happen, happens and Evie’s phone is rendered useless. Receiving absolutely no compassion for this disaster puts the finishing touches to Evie’s nightmare and only her godmother’s story about the 200 year old, previous occupant of the uncomfortable room in which she is to stay provides a glimmer of hope that her TV/Wi-Fi free environment is not completely without redemption.

That ancient occupant has etched a message on a window which seems to speak especially to Evie and as a strange clock strikes midnight on that first sleepless night- Evie, our very modern thinking 13 year old, finds herself taken back to 1814 and a life of an ill-used housemaid in a desperate race against time with a promise to keep. Can Evie stop an unjust past and return to her future?

From the moment that Evie’s phone lands in the puddle, she becomes a fully formed everyday teenager with strong opinions of right, wrong and the completely out of order. So travelling with Evie’s eyes to a time when women struggled against an invisible line and an unquestioning society separated itself behind unseen curtains was a really different take on the traditional time-slip adventure.

Apart from being pleasingly spooky and beautifully written, what I absolutely loved about this book was the pace. Not being able to access a story quickly is very often a barrier to children reading quality fiction so it is with joy that I can now recommend ‘Evie’s Ghost’ knowing that the extremely relatable Evie and the almost instant action will grip reluctant but able readers taking them on an absorbing journey and leave them with lots to think about.

‘Evie’s Ghost’ would make an excellent Upper KS2 guided reading text and hopefully tempt young readers into trying some other time-slip classics like Penelope Farmer’s ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ or ‘Children of Winter’ by Berlie Doherty.

Exciting, chilling and rich with history- I could not put ‘Evie’s Ghost’ down. Thank you Helen Peters for the most enjoyable Saturday I spent in 1814!

Evie’s Ghost     by Helen Peters

Nosy Crow     ISBN 978-0857638427

You can read another review of Evie's Ghost here.