My oldest granddaughter got me hooked on the Cynthia's Attic series starting with "The Missing Locket." I picked up her copy and suddenly I was travelling through time and turmoil with Gus and Cynthia, the book's 12-year-old heroines. I have looked forward to each new adventure and shared them with three younger granddaughters. The fifth and newest volume, "The Legend of Lupin Woods," grabbed me with a surprise beginning and drew me into the series' most exciting, suspenseful and magical undertaking yet.
Mary Cunningham artfully exploits the wealth of possibilities in her version of time travel. Her star characters are whisked from era to era and continent to continent with seeming randomness, but the girls have a modicum of control over their fate by cleverly interpreting clues that appear to them. This despite the fact that they are constantly distracted by frightening dangers--human and animal, or worse. Of course there is also the ever-present possibility that they will not find a way home, the innate peril of time travel.
Through it all, their interests and conversations remind us that they are 12-year-old girls who can josh each other and utter wisecracks while being scared out of their wits. They are also helped along by female ancestors they meet in the past who are good cooks. Time travel and repeatedly escaping perilous circumstances cause one to work up a tremendous appetite.
This series ideally stimulates the imagination of young readers who can put themselves in the place of Gus and Cynthia and ponder what it might be like to travel through time and see their mothers and grandmothers as young adults and children.
I understand that the author plans to make this book the last of the series. If she does, I for one will never forgive her.