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Posted December 9, 2008
Chris Fitton¿s father and Nan Mallory¿s mother marry leaving their stunned twelve year old offspring to stay with Aunt Elizabeth for six months while their parents gallivant in Mexico. Both children are used to living with someone else whereas Chris stayed at boarding schools, Nan was raised by her grandma, who has moved into a senior citizen¿s community in which children can visit for short times, but cannot stay. At a nearby store, Chris finds the model of the Red Hart Inn. At night while asleep and dreaming, Chris and Nan believe they have traveled to the real Red Hart.------------- 'The King's Hunters'. During the rule of King James, Chris and Nan try to save the innkeeper accused of being a priest who if true illegally owns the Red Hart Inn which is punishable by death. ---------------- 'The Gentlemen'. The smugglers seek the wounded excise officer in order to kill him before he can identify them to authorities he hides in the Red Hart Inn where Chris and Nan try to keep him safe.------------- 'Hue and Cry'. When the fire burned down Squire Mallory's barn, Chris is accused of committing the arson that almost killed several people. Bow Street runner Harry Hawkins, a friend of the family, tries to prove the lad is innocent before an angry mob takes justice into its own hands.--------------- This reprint of a 1970s young adult tale is character driven as in between their adventures Nan and Chris have problems at home and at school. They feel like they do not belong anywhere and reject being step-siblings. The most popular girl in class wants Nan as a friend, but at an exorbitant cost the most popular boy in the school picks on Chris. However, their time travel ¿dreams¿ that they have shared provide confidence for both to seek the right thing. Thus the great Andre Norton provides the audience with a strong fantasy wrapped inside a poignant family drama.----------- Harriet Klausner
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