Book Reviews

Twinter, The First Portal is another amazing work by British Columbia author, Veronica Knox but this time her story is aimed toward young people. Set at Bede Hall, a manor that sits proudly on a 300-acre estate in Bede, England.

Once a stately site owned by Lady Nan, Bede Hall begins to decay from the inside out when she is relegated to The Beehive Nursing Home. However, Bede Hall has a mind and will of its own, calling to Lady Nan to return to her rightful home. Why? Because a young ghost girl and the lady’s long-time friend misses her terribly.

Rather than get into lengthy explanations on the story line, suffice to say that Bede Hall welcomes her back, along with her daughter and two young children – twins to be exact – after their father is lost during an archaeological dig in Egypt.

The characters in this book are well rounded to the point where the reader gets to know them well and care for them as well, from the still feisty Lady Nan to the 12-year-old twins, Kit and Bash. The reader also learns of a host of other characters – some dead, some not – and again, they stick in ones memory as if they are old friends.

The plot line is beautifully thought out with some very unexpected surprises in the final chapters. Just when you think you knew who someone really was, you learn they were much more than you could ever have imagined.

As the story unfolds, it is a fanciful tale that is full of good fun. Humans talk to ghosts and vice versa, dogs chat with cats and a parrot named Pigeon squawks out words during the most inopportune times that one can not help laughing at. Even Bede Hall comes alive insisting that it does not intent to be sold and turned into a nursing home or worse.

“The twins hadn’t a clue that their personal teacup was about to expand to the size of a bathtub or that even a bathtub would be unable to contain the bizarre experiences that were about to unfold. But then, that’s what supernatural means: not natural… not usual… and as far beyond normal as they could possibly have supposed in their wildest imagination. Besides, they had no idea that Bede Hall had absolutely no intention of being sold.”

Knox showed her writing moxy in her previous books, Woo Woo – the posthumous love story of Miss Emily Carr and Second Lisa, about another painting of the famous work by Leonardo da Vinci. However in this work, she has reigned in her creativity somewhat in favor of appealing to younger readers. When big or uncommon words are used, they are followed by an explanation, cleverly weaved right into the story.

Young readers will definitely be enrapt with Twinter, a true time travel adventure, while expanding their vocabulary at the same time. That said this book is more than deserving of a place on the official school reading list for senior public school students.

This book is part of a series called the Twinters’ Adventures, with 10 ‘portals’ in total, which must have been a massive undertaking even for this most talented author.

M.J. Jette, November 2013

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