Gr 5-7-A brother and sister, separated both physically and emotionally by their parents' divorce, find a way to reconcile in this intriguing story. Jill Weaver, 11, is visiting her father at Castle Gryffe, Scotland, while Tad visits their mother in London. While their relationship has been strained, Jill now misses her brother, but doesn't know how to bridge the gap between them. Tad's computer provides her with the answer. She finds a file named after the family that owned Castle Gryffe in its 16th-century heyday; opening it, she steps into that world, where Tad is Lord Romanes's page and she is Lady Romanes's maid. The lord's jealous brother is plotting to kill Lady Romanes's child and accuses the disfigured young woman of witchcraft so that he can blame her for the infant's death and regain his lost position as heir. Jill and Tad, learning of Rollo's treachery, must work together to save their beloved lady, and in so doing, they find their way back to one another. The 16th-century scenes, filled with detail about everything from the castle's dirt to the people's superstitious attitudes, ring with authenticity, while the use of a computer as the key to the past is a deft 1990's touch. Jill is a likable heroine; her emotions are believable, and her personal growth is satisfying. Fans of historical drama and time-travel fantasy will enjoy this tale.-Mary Jo Drungil, Niles Public Library District, IL
Jill and her brother, Tad, each of whom lives with a different parent, exchange places for a summer visit. Their Scottish father has moved from London to a castle, where Jill sulks until she watches a video Tad made, which features her in Tudor clothing that she has never worn. The mysterious occurrences multiply, especially when Jill begins working with her brother's computer. In classic time-slip fashion, Jill finds herself (along with Tad) enmeshed in the lives of the family that owned the castle 400 years before. Dunlop's plot zips along, steeped in the romantic castle setting, and Jill makes an edgy but likable heroine. Thoughtful readers will notice some anachronistic clunkers (Tudor-era Tad calls someone a "dirty rat," but there's a good reason for it), and if Dunlop's overall explanation for the supernatural mysteries is weak--" minds are more amazing than computers" --she has still given readers some history and some fun along the way.