A Chase in Time is the first book in a new time-travelling adventure series from Sally Nicholls.
Alex Pilgrim and his sister Ruby spend two weeks every summer at their Aunt Joanna’s B&B, the very grand Applecott House. But this is their last summer: Joanna is struggling financially and has to move out, much to Alex’s dismay. Alex loves all the beautiful things in Applecott, particularly the gold-framed mirror hanging in the hallway – the mirror is full of history, in more ways than one! One day during that last summer Alex and Ruby tumble through the mirror into 1912 and come face-to-face with Henry and Dora, a couple of Pilgrim children from the past. Soon all four children are tumbling into adventure!
There’s plenty of humour throughout this lovely book. I particularly enjoyed the horrified reactions of Alex and Ruby when they have to don Edwardian clothes. Petticoats, bodices, stockings (for BOYS)… horrifying. But I love how the children find plenty of common ground too. Life in 1912 might be very different in some ways, but certain things never change: children are brave, love adventure and are determined to help their families when they’re in trouble.
And Henry and Dora’s Uncle Atherton IS in trouble. He and his anthropologist fiancée, Mary, are on the cusp of getting married when one of their valuable antiquities, the Newberry Cup, goes missing and the children have to track down the culprits. One of the high points in the book is when Alex and Ruby are taken along for a (very) high-speed chase in Atherton’s snazzy motor car. ‘You are both insane!’ Ruby shouts at Atherton and Mary at one point. They are, but they’re also rather wonderful.
The illustrations by Brett Helquist are perfect: the ones of the fire engine and Uncle Atherton’s car are particularly stunning, and the clocks throughout make for very eye-catching pages.