Elsetime by Eve McDonnell

Written by Eve McDonnell, Published by Everything With Words

When the past and the future collide into one present. The best way I can think to describe this book.

Needle is a mud lark from 1864 and Glory is a 12 year old jewellery apprentice in 1928. From the world in different times comes a heart warming story of friendship, hope and courage.

Needle has a unique ability to see colours in words and hear stories in objects. Being a mudlark allows him time to listen to the stories of objects found on the bank of the Thames. In order to hear the stories, the object must be so cold as to be painful. However, one day, with the help of Magpie, a clever treasure hunting crow, Needle finds an object that burns him. The truth is that the object is from the future.

Unable to read, Needle is unaware that this is a commemorative plaque for lives lost during a flood in 1928.

Needle shares a home with his Mum and they eagerly await the return of his Dad. Needle believes he is away working but seeing the colour of sadness around his Mum, begins to doubt this.

Glory is a fiery girl, attempting to act 16 to help pay the rent along with her sister. Since losing their parents to a fever, the girls rely on work and each other. Glory has talent in sketching jewellery designs but struggles to make them, with one hand being wooden. Mrs Quick, her boss, is horrible and unfair but Glory must stay or else face eviction. Biting her tongue, she manages to make it through each day at her job.

Magpie, the treasure hunting crow, is the glue holding this story together, flitting between times and ensuring a meeting happens between Needle and Glory. Stealing treasure from Needle to pass to Glory for her designs, and stealing food from Glory to share with Needle, this is one clever bird! Can these children believe their own truths? It seems far fetched and scary but until they see Glory’s name on the plaque, they think they are just saving others. It is now a race against time to save Glory!

As time ticks closer to the date of the flood, events happen that throw the plans off course and put them both in grave danger. Amazingly, Needle finds his Da in the future, but realises he will be one of the names on the plaque if they don’t warn the town.

This proves to be a difficult task and the book leaves you breathless as the flood is upon them before they all listen. Can Needle and Glory save the town and each other? Exciting scenes of rescue, friendship and family culminates in a brilliant ending to a wonderfully courageous story.

A superb book, one with messages of overcoming fears, being courageous and trusting friends. Needle and Glory are wonderful characters, proving the power of children over adults yet again.

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