A beautiful book that brings history to life

May 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm (Book reviews, Favourite books)

felicitycoverWhen a young girl moves from Sydney to Norfolk Island with her parents, they are all eager to learn more about their illustrious ancestor, a governor of the island from convict times. On her first day at her new school, sixteen-year-old Allie proudly announces her family connection to her classmates – and is hurt and angry when they inform her that he was a brutal tyrant. Vowing to prove the other students wrong, especially the boy she feels so drawn to, she sets off on a journey of discovery – and uncovers a haunting love story, a terrible secret, a mysterious ghost, an old diary that draws her into the past, a chapter of island history that still echoes through many of the current residents, and a lot about herself as well.

This is a gorgeous book and a wonderful story, full of mystery and intrigue that kept me up late into the night, desperate to know what happened. The slipping between past and present is well structured, and the two intertwining storylines are equally compelling. It covers a dark period of this country’s history, which makes for slightly uncomfortable reading, but it also emphasises the strength of those who have acted out against tyranny, now and in the past, and how their lives and choices continue to inspire, and affect people long after they are gone.

Capturing the spirit of teenagers and their voice can be difficult – not all YA authors are able to pull it off, but these characters, both the modern ones and those who leap from the page from the past, are fully realised and complex, at times as stubborn and rigid in their views as they are charming and charismatic, and always believable. The journey of the heroine, Allie, is beautifully written, her sense of isolation is tangible, and her realisations about life, love and friendship through discovering long-ago Alice’s story is really touching. It complements and contrasts well with the life of Alice, the brave daughter of the governor, who must choose between love and family. Both girls grow up a lot throughout the book, and a few of their experiences made me teary.

The author has an amazing ability to bring history to life and make it fascinating, and to weave into her stories all the small details of long-ago periods that draw you into the past and add an incredible richness to the well-researched facts. This is a captivating story for all ages, and would certainly brighten up school history lessons. I have long loved Felicity Pulman’s books, especially her enchanting Janna Mysteries series, and A Ring Through Time totally lives up to expectations.

For more on Felicity and her books, visit www.felicitypulman.com.au



  1. Author Spotlight – Felicity Pulman | serenesblessedbee said,

    […] Read my review of A Ring Through Time. […]

  2. Author Spotlight – Felicity Pulman – Serene Conneeley said,

    […] Read my review of A Ring Through Time.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container] […]

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