Inheritance by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2018. ISBN 9781760650360.
(Age: 12-14) Highly recommended. Themes: Australian history. Aboriginal peoples. Time travel. Family histories.
"Generations of women in my family have been able to time travel... " Nic (Veronica) tries to explain to her only friend in her new town, Strathmartin. Keeping a secret like this is proving difficult for a lonely girl who has been left to live with her Grandfather on a very remote farm. She is at a new school, a situation with which she is very familiar having been to numerous schools over her childhood after losing her mother at birth and having a father whose music career has taken precedence over raising his daughter. To her dismay the townspeople seem to be holding a grudge because of the actions of her wealthy ancestors who grew up in the area. Thinking her mother is dead and wanting to find out more about her family she stumbles onto the "isching", as one relative calls it, which enables her to travel back in time. Her grandfather objects to her "travelling" but this does not deter her as she searches desperately for the answers to the many questions about her family.
Written mostly in the first person this novel also has several chapters written by her relatives and other characters, which allows the author to round out this extraordinary story. The theme of conflict between Aboriginal people and early settlers runs through the story. Nic's journeys into the past lead her to believe her mission is to prevent the slaughter of a local Aboriginal tribe and this theme will provide valuable discussions in History classes.
A very enjoyable book has lots of opportunities to study Australia's early history. The detail included by the author about sourcing evidence and primary sources for historical study will also prove valuable in schools.