Robinsheugh by Eileen Dunlop

Robinsheugh by Eileen Dunlop was first published in 1975.  The setting is the Scottish Border Country, but it begins in London’s King’s Cross Station where Elizabeth has just boarded a train bound for Scotland. She’s not at all happy, her parents are going to America for months and Elizabeth had been desperate to go with them, but it couldn’t be afforded and Elizabeth is having to go to stay with her aunt, a historian who usually lives in Oxford but at the moment she’s doing research at Robinsheugh into the family that lived there during the 18th century.

When Elizabeth reaches her destination she’s absolutely miserable, it’s evident that her aunt has very little time for her and she’s more interested in the past. But when Elizabeth finds an old hand mirror which by coincidence has her own initials on it strange things begin to happen and she finds herself being drawn back into the past to become part of the 18th century family.

I liked this one although I was almost rolling my eyes at what at first seemed to be the usual cliche of the old mirror and a time slip, admittedly there is something strange about really old mirrors. It’s the thought of all the people who have looked at their reflection in the glass that you’ll never know, and what were they thinking, what did they look like?

Anyway, it turned out to be not such a cliche. Apparently this was the first book by Eileen Dunlop who was born in Alloa and was  a teacher at Dollar Academy.

King of Shadows by Susan Cooper

King of Shadows by Susan Cooper was first published in  1999 and it’s described as being ‘A magical adventure bringing Shakespeare to life’.

It begins in America where a company of young would-be actors have been picked for The Company of Boys, they’ve been chosen from youth theatres, schools  and companies across the country.  It’s a tough regime but there’s a great incentive to succeed as those chosen will be acting on stage at the Globe in London, the rebuilt theatre associated with Sheakespeare’s acting company. They’ll be putting on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Nathan Field is thrilled to be chosen for the London trip, but almost as soon as he gets to London he falls ill with a fever and ends up in hospital, delirious.

The time slips to 1599 where Nat is now a young actor at the original Globe, learning the trade. He’s on loan from St Paul’s School and some in the company are a bit jealous of him and make life difficult. But Will Shakespeare himself notices Nat, he’s having some difficulty fitting into 16th century London and has to think on his feet at times.

I really like books which feature Shakespeare so I enjoyed this one which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.