Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

A Secret in Time by Sally Nicholls

The In Time series by Sally Nicholls is one of my favourite historical fiction series for younger readers. Written for age 7+, it is fast-paced, exciting and so accessible.

Alex and Ruby are trying on their new school uniforms at their Aunt Joanna’s house. Glancing at the large, eighteenth century mirror in her hallway, they realise it’s done it again. Instead of their own reflections looking back at them, they can see through into another room where a little girl is playing with her trainset. Taking a deep breath, the pair step into the mirror and through time back to 1947.

Here the children discover the realities of post-war Britain. It is cold! Snow, limited heating and their inappropriate clothing make them realise just how much they take for granted in their modern life. Truths quickly hit home as Alex and Ruby see how little food the family has to share between them, the importance of ration books and the struggle regular people face every day. Even though they’ve arrived in a time much closer to their own than any they’ve visited before, it is still very different with strange foods, unfamiliar expectations and hardships they never realised.

The family in Applecott House have a secret. Alex and Ruby must find out what happened to the highwayman’s treasure before the adults start asking questions (or they freeze)!

This series reminds me of David Olusoga’s television series, A House Through Time. Alex and Ruby are given the privilege of piecing together their family history by getting to know the real people who came before them.

Thank you to Nosy Crow for this wonderful book!

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon or

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