Through the Mirror Door by Sarah Baker

Through the Mirror Door by Sarah Baker

A highly original mystery story that successfully combines a modern day and historical setting. A definite must-read.

Angela doesn’t like her Aunt or cousins but living them with has to better than the series of children’s homes she’s had to put up with. She’s, therefore, determined to bite her tongue and behave like an angel when she’s invited to join their family holiday in France. Her cousins don’t make this easy but Angela soon has bigger concerns to occupy her mind – namely the mysterious boy on the other side of the Mirror Door and the fact that he appears to be dying, alone and uncared for in 1898.

This is a highly original mystery story, blending modern day with a historical setting. It’s easy to accept both settings and the time-slip travel via the Mirror Door is effectively described allowing the reader to buy into the concept. Time travel stories are fraught with difficulties but debut author, Sarah Baker has carefully thought through all the implications of Angela’s actions in the past.

As a character Angela is instantly sympathetic despite her apparent attitude. I liked the details that give clues to both her past and her personality – from the memory of her mother combing her hair to the patch of fabric from the T-shirt she’d been wearing the night she lost her family. The other characters are equally well-rounded. Aunt Cece, for example, is truly awful without being a clichéd stereotype. The cousins are typical of their age. (I had to smile at Kitty’s horror when she discovered the house they are staying at may not have wifi.) My favourite, however, is the silent Herman. I found the revelation regarding his behaviour especially satisfying (sorry to tell you more could spoil your enjoyment of the book).

The story is skilfully plotted. Since I have been reviewing for The Bookbag I have come to realise the crucial importance of a good climax and strong conclusion and Through the Mirror Door has both. The climax is thrilling, making the book almost impossible to put down. The resolution is even better, bringing an unexpected twist and tears to my eyes. In fact, this book has one of the best endings I’ve read. I’ll definitely be looking out for Sarah’s next book.

If you enjoyed this, I can recommend two other excellent middle-grade debuts this year. Try The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol or Beetle Boy by M G Leonard.

ISBN: 978-1910611036
Date: July 2016
Publisher: Catnip
Pages: 240
Author: Sarah BakerMadge's 4.5/5 Star Review Rating

Review first published on The Bookbag

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