Inheritance by Carole Wilkinson

cover image

Black Dog Books, 2018. ISBN 9781760650360
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Themes: Aboriginal History; Time Travel; Historical Fiction. Carole Wilkinson has proved herself as an engaging author in the Dragonkeeper series, but this book is a departure from the fantasy style of that series, but proves that she can tell a story with great power and flair regardless of the genre. Time travel could fall into the realm of fantasy fiction, but this book is inherently a Historical Fiction narrative. In Inheritance Wilkinson has managed to handle the time travel genre with great skill and some uniqueness, to tell the story of the dreadful massacre of Aboriginal people in Australia's past. In the present day, Nic (short for Veronica) is left to stay with her rather grumpy Grandfather in the family homestead in rural Victoria and unwittingly discovers the secret of time travel. But is it an unexpected blessing or a terrible curse? This amazing experience leads her to discover truths about her forebears that are upsetting, but yet give her a reason to continue her travel. With a school project as a stimulus, and a friendship with the local boy (who reveals his Aboriginal heritage) there is some hope of creating something that will make a difference, despite the horrors of the past. As Bruce Pascoe's quote reveals at the start of the book, "There is a wound in the soul of the world and we're all paying for it."
This is an awesome book and the revelations of the terrible past add a layer of significance for a modern-day reader. With hints at things from history that are inherently interesting, but also with the personal story of a young teenager coming to terms with her sad past, and her loneliness, this is a book to be recommended on many levels. And the zig-zag rift in time is a great way to reveal history.
Highly recommended for readers aged 11+
Carolyn Hull