4.7 17
by Kate Saunders

View All Available Formats & Editions

Twelve-year-old Flora Fox would do anything not to go to Penrice Hall, the boarding school her parents are shipping her off to because of a family emergency. Penrice has horses and an Olympic-size swimming pool, but flashy facilities won't change how Flora feels about being sent away and having to make new friends. 

On the train ride to Penrice, Flora

See more details below

  • Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible  Shop Now


Twelve-year-old Flora Fox would do anything not to go to Penrice Hall, the boarding school her parents are shipping her off to because of a family emergency. Penrice has horses and an Olympic-size swimming pool, but flashy facilities won't change how Flora feels about being sent away and having to make new friends. 

On the train ride to Penrice, Flora awakens from a nap to find herself transported into the past—1935, to be exact. As Flora rises to the challenges of her strange new life, she finds that the joys and complications of growing up are the same no matter what the year. And that friends and family will always be there to lend a helping hand.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Her proper memories were running away from her, and the modern world where she belonged seemed as distant as a dream.” Twelve-year-old British girl Flora Fox is angrily on her way to a fancy boarding school when she falls asleep on the train and wakes up in 1935 at another school, St. Winifred’s. Flora learns that she’s been magically summoned to the past by her three roommates, who were trying to conjure a “helpful demon from the future,” and has taken over the life of a girl from British India. She has to adjust to speaking French at breakfast, bathing just twice a week, wearing bloomers, being bullied, and learning Latin, all while trying to get back home (and prove that “future-girls” are not useless). The journey allows Flora to view her formerly spoiled self in a new light and complete a task that will better the world. Saunders (The Little Secret) offers a coming-of-age tale set against a rich backdrop full of period detail. First published in the U.K., this often surprising glimpse into the past will charm readers. Ages 10–up. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Booklist, October 15, 2011:
"...this absorbing novel, first published in Great Britain in 2010, features a dimensional, delightful protagonist, whose personality and growth ring true...Along with the entertaining magical elements, the universal themes of self-discovery and looking beyond appearances combine into a wholly engaging and enjoyable read."

Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Twelve-year-old Flora is on her way to Pentrice Hall, a private school, but totally against her wishes. Health issues with her grandmother in Italy and the remodeling of her family home in England have made it impossible for her to remain at home while her parents deal with these issues. On the train ride to the school, Flora finally falls asleep but has a very strange dream. She is awakened by a weirdly dressed woman and realizes there is something totally different about her surroundings. Flora realizes that she, herself, is dressed differently than before. The lady informs her she is on her way to St. Winifred's, a girls' school in France. Despite her protestations, they arrive at St. Winifred and meet the equally weird headmistress, "Old Peepy." Flora realizes she is not only in strange surroundings but has traveled back in time to 1935 socially, culturally and historically. After meeting her three roommates and chatting with them she realizes that they, too, have experienced time travel and long to return to modernity. The story follows Flora and her roomates' adventures at St. Winifred's and the lessons learned from them while they plot their return to the present. The reader will be entertained as Flora and her friends experience many of the same growing up issues as most young teens even if it is 1935. Will they return safely to their homes? The story is another in the recent fascination with the supernatural among young people. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Spoiled English schoolgirl Flora Fox, 12, is very vocal in her displeasure at being sent temporarily to Penrice Hall, a fancy boarding school, while her parents prepare to have her cantankerous grandmother come to live with them. On the train to Penrice, Flora has a strange dream and wakes up to find herself in 1935 on her way to another school. Upon arriving at St. Winifred's, she realizes that the memories in her head are not completely her own. She also has the memories of another Flora and has assumed her place at the school. She learns that her three new dorm mates performed a summoning spell that brought her to the past and that she won't return to her time until she has completed an unknown task. Saunders successfully conveys the boarding school experience of 1935, particularly the relationships Flora forms with her dorm mates. Perceptive readers may even be able to predict the ending. The narrative occasionally does more telling than showing and would have benefited from more development of Flora's pre-boarding school relationship with her grandmother, but readers willing to overlook this will be satisfied with her growth as a person and the effect she has on one of her dorm mates in particular.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
A spoiled, contemporary English schoolgirl travels back in time to 1935, where she must adjust to a different life style, make new friends and complete a mysterious task. Twelve-year-old Flora Fox resents leaving her pampered life with her doting parents while their London home is renovated. En route to snazzy Penrice Hall for one term, Flora naps on the train and wakes up at stuffy St. Winifred's boarding school in 1935. Flummoxed to find herself without such 21st-century necessities as cell phones, laptops, jeans, lattes and hot showers, Flora feels like an alien until she becomes attached to her three roomies: impetuous Pete, astute Pogo and gentle Dulcie. Determined to make the best of the rigid boarding school with its eccentric teachers and schoolgirl rivalries, Flora actually becomes a nicer person. The more she appreciates the past, the more she treasures "all the things in the future she had always taken for granted." Discovering her roommates have pulled her into 1935 through a summoning charm, Flora knows she'll remain in the past until she completes her mission. Told in a third-person, past-tense narration with schoolgirl humor and perspective, this time-travel tale convincingly links England of 1935 to the present. A ripping English boarding-school story with a perceptive heroine and time-travel twist guaranteed to appeal to modern schoolgirls. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Read More

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >