The return of Doctor Who to our TV screens in 2005 gave rise once again to the vast possibilities of using time-travel as the central premise of a storyline. Jumping on the time-travel bandwagon, Jeanette Winterson has seized upon its potential with a spirited originality in her first children’s novel, a gripping and provocative fantasy-thriller.
The central character, Silver, is an orphan forced to live with her selfish aunt Mrs Rockabye and her ferocious pet rabbits. Silver’s only comfort is the magical, sprawling house in which they live. When the mysterious Abel Darkwater arrives at Tanglewreck, seeking the legendary Timekeeper, Silver is dragged away from her beloved home and drawn into a sinister plot which sees her thrown through time and space, with the future of the universe on her shoulders.
To give much more away would risk spoiling others’ delight in unravelling this juicy adventure story for themselves. Packed with colourful characters, and skillfully paced, Tanglewreck also throws up some weighty questions about the nature of existence. Rarely does one encounter a children’s novel which so succesfully combines pure entertainment with serious philosophical and scientific contemplation. A hugely satisfying and memorable read.