Twelve-year-old biracial James has grown up in a musical family. Not only are both of his parents musicians, but his four grandparents are as well. Everyone assumes that James will pursue music, yet he would rather become a newspaper reporter...or an astronomer...or a cook...anything that will let him leave music behind "and be his own self."
Everything changes when, on a family visit to London, James discovers a portal that leads to London in the year 1600, then finds himself unable to return to the point in time he had left behind. James is forced to join the Children of the Chapel Royal, a group that performs for the queen of England, and the musical talents he denied are now put to the test and pushed to their limits. In this alternate world James comes to realize that he cannot survive and get back to the twenty-first century without recognizing, understanding, and making the most of his musical gifts.
Jane Louise Curry brings Elizabethan London to life in this remarkable story about music, family, and finding one's place in the world.
Twelve-year-old biracial James (almost 13) travels 400 years back in time to Elizabethan London in this slow-to-start but ultimately steadily suspenseful historical fantasy. James feels misunderstood, and resents the role that music plays in his family. Reluctantly accompanying his parents to London where his mother is singing with an esteemed period-instrument ensemble, James is drawn to "a faint oval shimmer hanging motionless in midair" in the basement of their flat-a portal to the past. Curry brings history remarkably to life, particularly after James is recruited to the Children of the Chapel Royal, has a part in Ben Jonson's new play Cynthia's Revels and is swept up in preparing a solo for the Queen on Twelfth Night day, discovering how much singing matters to him. The tension between James's increasing involvement in the early 1600s, and his need to maneuver a way back to the present near to when he left will keep young readers turning the pages. Though some aspects of the story feel underdeveloped, Curry makes the life of another era convincingly real. (Fiction. 10-14) (Kirkus Reviews)
Audience: Primary / High School
For Ages: 10 - 14 years old
For Grades: 5 - 9
Format: Not Supplied By Publisher
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st March 2005
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.8 x 14.43 x 2.59
Weight (kg): 0.4