From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-When Ewan Dart opens the door to his house, he's never sure if he'll see a Victorian parlor, ancient warriors, or his own living room. Ninian House, located in a remote Scottish village, shifts in time, displaying moments from its history to its current residents. The figures from the past are usually unaware of their watchers, but Ewan is contacted by Elspeth, a spirit who has been trapped in the house since her death at age nine in the 1930s. At the moment of her death, the house shifted in time, and she was unable to leave it. She enlists Ewan's help to break free, but their efforts are thwarted by a threatening force that is centered in a locked closet. With the help of his friend Mick, Ewan finds out about former residents, and contacts one of them, Elspeth's cousin Alex, to resolve the mystery and set her free. Ninian House's time-shifting, casually accepted by Ewan's parents and other local residents, gives this fast-paced ghost story an unusual twist. McAllister's characters are realistic and their relationships are detailed, especially the developing bond between Ewan and his artistic father. Mick and his family add local color and warmth to the story. This engaging book will have a strong appeal to fans of Betty Ren Wright though the Scottish setting makes for a slightly more challenging read.Beth L. Meister, Queens Borough Public Library, Flushing, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6-9. Ninian House, Ewan Dart's home in a small Scottish town, has some quirks--the most troublesome being that it shifts back in time, offering glimpses into history. Past and present collide, when Ewan encounters Elspeth, a young ghost trapped in time, who needs Ewan's help to find peace at last. Ewan must unravel Elspeth's past and the mystery of a locked closet--in an increasingly intense race against time. This has an intriguing premise as well as suspense that sometimes turns quite spooky. McAllister's prose moves quickly, and her characters, setting, and events are easy to visualize. She also incorporates some provocative, philosophically complex ideas about fear and hate, love and forgiveness, and death and afterlife (including a somewhat jarringly matter-of-fact discussion between Ewan and Elspeth). Part mystery, part ghost story, part morality tale, the novel has a good deal to offer as it explores the diverse, interwoven threads and impact of past and present, faith and heart. Shelle RosenfeldCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved