Grace's escape by Louise Park

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Grace’s Escape is the second in Louis Park’s time travelling adventure. Set in modern-day Scotland, 12-year-old Grace lives with her mother in Hotel Castle Faerie, their ancestral home. They left Broome, WA, where Grace was being bullied at school and are now running a castle for guests who want the experience of living in the Victorian era. However, Grace and her new friend Ellie get to have a real historical experience by means of an enchanted map that reveals places in the castle where they can time travel. In this story they travel to the 1890’s, along with pet dog Coco-pups. There they become involved in thwarting a dastardly scheme by evil Mr. Biggs-Grossly to swindle Lady Eliza, the owner of Castle Faerie. They must also save twin girls and Coco-pups, who have been kidnapped and locked in a lighthouse. Occasionally they must travel back to the present to fix things going wrong. Grace also pieces together more about her family’s history.

The story moves at a fast pace and has many commendable brave smart girls at its core. It has a light humorous tone, and the time travel works well. Young readers will undoubtedly find the cute dog, the stationery shop and the Willy Wonka party very appealing. Louise Park successfully recreates the 1890’s with attention to detail such as what women’s fashions were and slang phrases like ‘batty-fanged’. The other major plot line she uses is integrating literary greats Beatrix Potter, James Barrie and May Gibbs into the action. In reality Castle Faerie was a gathering place for writers in those times. The book is also littered with literary tidbits and author quotes. In this way readers can learn more about these classic authors.

Themes: Victorian times, Classic authors, Time travel, Bravery, Family history.

Jo Marshall