Nic is left in the care of her grandfather at the remote family property that was once her mother’s childhood home; a place with thirty rooms, three dogs and no mobile reception.
Left to her own devices, she searches for clues about her mother – who died the day Nic was born. But when Nic learns how to slip through time, she discovers more than she could have imagined. The past holds a dark and shocking secret that haunts the land and the people who live there.
Historical fiction for middle grade readers at its compelling, shocking, fascinating best.
Inheritance by Carole Wilkinson is a historical fiction novel perfect for Australian readers aged approximately 10-12.
This book is not at all what I thought it was going to be, judging by the blurb above. Yes, it’s a novel about time travel. But it’s so much more than that. It’s about massacre and racism and understanding the mistakes of the past.
Inheritance sheds light on the shameful events in Australian history. This book would make a good classroom discussion for primary school children, using it to launch conversations around the history of Australia and the treatment of aboriginals by white people.
“My eyes were still adjusting to the sudden change from absolute darkness to brilliant daylight. In the distance, among all the yellow, I could see dark out-of-focus shapes. I blinked. One of the shapes changed. I heard a sound. It took me a while to realise it was a voice. The other shapes changed, becoming taller and thinner. They were people. Women.”
Teenager Nic Gervase lives in the present-day timeline and lives in regional Victoria. Her fathers on a cruise ship and has left her to live with her maternal grandfather. She stumbles upon a way to travel back in time, and discovers the shocking truth about what life was like back then.
Inheritance confronts the massacre of the local Gulidjan people in 1839. At times, the content in the book is a little shocking but it’s based on true events and it’s important for young readers to know the history of Australia.
“The men stared at me with curiosity, not fear. One of them spoke. The sounds made no sense to me. I couldn’t even recognise them as words. He seemed to be talking to the women. Then the men turned and ran off, their spears held high.”
At times, the vocabulary, sentence structure and prose felt a little too young for the audience but the concept of time travel is so interesting that I think it will entice and engage young readers’ minds.
I recommend this to young readers intrigued by historical fiction and Australian history.
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Walker Books Australia