In the book Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson (2006), Silver is a plucky 11-year-old whose parents and sister vanished four years ago. She’s being cared for by a selfish mean woman in the family mansion, Tanglewreck, one of those old English manor houses with a lot of mysteries to it.

Strange disturbances start happening. A wooly mammoth shows up on the banks of the Thames. A school bus full of children vanishes. Time seems to be going backwards and forwards. People are afraid. Something is clearly not right.

When a mysterious alchemist invites Silver and her guardian to his house in London, she finds that he believes she is the person spoken of in a prophecy about a missing clock with power over time itself. He wants her to find the clock–and then hand it over to him. A lot of unexpected plot twists later, I can definitely say the author clearly is having a lot of fun with multiverse theory and quantum physics paradoxes, including Schroedinger’s Cat.

I enjoyed many things about this story, especially the occasionally amusing bad guys and the heroine’s character journey.

However, I don’t recommend that a religious parent let their child read it without also having the parent read it and discuss it. The author imbues objects, like a house and a clock, with powers that sound to me like they belong to divinity. I do wonder where the author thinks the prophecy about the heroine comes from. I guess it’s a random prophecy.

I’ll give it four stars. * * * *

Short Story by Phyllis Wheeler

Free short story! Subscribe to News and Reviews.

You can unsubscribe at any time! I'll never share your email address.

Check your email, including spam folders!