I’ve been waiting impatiently for Laurie Graves’ third book in the The Great Library series.
Out of Time is due this November.
The first two books and their main character Maya are enthralling. There are big themes in this series, but the main story is about a teenager who, with the help of a magical book, faces adversaries from a different time and a different realm. With the guidance of the Book of Everything, Maya travels between present and past just in time to prevent certain events from happening.
Having lived in fascinating old houses for most of my life, I have often stood in a room, wondering what it would be like to be able to revisit the house in an earlier century. And yes, I have wondered what it was like to be an adolescent or teenager during those times. Through Marie Prins’ The Girl from the Attic, I was able to do a bit of time travel myself.
The Girl from the Attic tells the story of Maddy, a feisty young girl who, with the help of a mysterious cat, finds a door to the past. She finds herself in a time when bath soap is made the old way (with dangerous lye), there are no antibiotics, and people still die from diseases such as tuberculosis. Maddy makes desperate attempts to prevent certain events from unfolding.
Kudos to Marie Prins for skillfully creating the two worlds of past and present — both taking place in the same home. In Maddy and her friend Clare, the author presents us with two likable, believable characters facing realistic challenges of their times.
Marie says there are similarities between the book and her own life:
“I too have American roots and now live in a historic, octagonal house that once was a farm house. I was intrigued/inspired by the idea of a portal that would allow someone to discover who lived here and what life may have been like a century ago.
“A bit of research gave me many ideas for the 1901 part of my story (there really was a soap factory across the street). In the 2001 part of the story, my protagonist reflects some of my own feelings of displacement when I moved here.“
But getting the book written and published was no easy feat. Inspired by an assignment in a workshop led by Canadian author Ted Staunton, Marie worked at it over ten years.
“It was rejected by many Canadian publishers, but then in 2019 it won silver in Common Deer Press’s Uncommon Quest competition. Of course, there were more revisions to do after I signed the contract, but I had a great editor who helped me make the novel a better book.”
Marie calls working with Common Deer “a happy collaboration”. Among other things, publisher Kirsten Marion was open to artist Edward Hagedorn doing the illustrations. Edward is Marie’s husband.
Congrats, Marie and Edward!
Congrats, Laurie Graves!