This imaginative debut novel combines historical adventure, time travel and fantasy to draw readers into its intriguing world. The story is set in the town of Inthington where the action moves between the years 1864 and 1928 and the plot is woven around the real life 1928 Great Flood of London in which 14 people drowned. The twin stories of Glory Bobbin, a feisty young jeweller with a wooden hand who is apprenticed to an exploitative shop keeper, and Needle, a skilful mudlark who finds treasures in the river mud and sees people’s emotions in colours, merge when Needle travels through time to 1928 after following his pet crow through a portal. After discovering that the mysterious, time-travelling crow, called Magpie of course, is a shared friend, the two children join forces in a race against time to warn the town about the impending flood and save lives, including Glory’s own.
This is an accomplished first novel with memorable characters, an evocative setting, artistic descriptions, quirky dialogue, and a fast paced plot full of twists and turns that will keep readers guessing right till the end. Friendship, love, skill, and courage are rewarded and readers who persist through the plot complexities of this unusual timeslip adventure will be rewarded with a satisfying resolution and plenty of sparkling, treasure-filled moments along the way.