Saturday 17 August 2013

The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie

The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie by Kirsty Murray (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-1-74331-702-0
Reviewed by Ann Harth

When Lucy McKenzie’s sister is in an accident in France, Lucy is forced to stay with Aunt Big in a big, old, country house filled with mysteries. To make matters worse, Aunt Big doesn’t seem to be any more thrilled with the situation than Lucy.

Lucy is miserable, worried about her sister and missing her family, until one night she hears someone calling from downstairs. She follows the sound of the voice to the dining room where all four walls are covered in murals of the countryside. Each wall depicts one of the four seasons. The voice is coming from the springtime painting where a young girl waves and calls. Lucy steps through the wall and into the early 20th century. There she meets April, Tom and Jimmy Tiger who teach Lucy how to love and live in the country. Lucy finds a source of untapped courage inside of her and learns to appreciate the thrill of adventure as the four of them climb trees, ride horses and swim in the river.

Time goes more quickly for Lucy’s new friends in the past and, although she is only staying with Aunt Big for a few weeks, she is able to visit them once in each of their seasons. She helps them to conquer bushfires and floods and, through her knowledge of the family’s history, learns that she must pass on a warning to the people she has grown to love.

The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie is a riveting read filled with mystery and twists as well as the satisfaction of watching the relationship between Lucy and Aunt Big blossom and grow. Kirsty Murray’s attention to detail in this book encourages the reader to skip back and forth between decades with ease and believability. Although the clues were all there, I was kept guessing and enthralled until the very end.

I would highly recommend this book to 9-12 year olds. It will be particularly appealing to those with a vivid imagination and the love of adventure.

Award winning author, Kirsty Murray has written fourteen books for children and teenagers. Her first novel, Zarconi’s Magic Flying Fish won the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award in 2000. She lives with her husband, a puppeteer, in a house filled with books and puppets. Kirsty Murray offers writing workshops and can often be found wandering through a bookstore or library.

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read, write and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, and her book for budding authors, Writing for Children – In the Beginning are available from Amazon. 

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