Wednesday, December 14, 2022

On the Bookshelf: A jaunt to the Middle Ages with Lilibet Lynn

When I learned about a new time-travel story from Elizabeth Hajek that involves castles, archery, and English royalty, I was immediately interested. When I began to read the book and discovered the delightful heroine, I was completely hooked. Lilibet Lynn and the Children of Sherwood: A Thimble of Time Adventure, by Elizabeth Hajek (Geek, was a joy from the beginning to end. This engaging middle grade novel enticed me to stay up late into the night as I read about Lilibet Lynn’s adventures. 

The story begins with Lilibet’s twelfth birthday, the day that everything changed. She goes through her normal routines of school, going to the library, and visiting her grandma. However, she magically finds herself wandering in the Middle Ages, and becomes involved in a life-or-death situation. Lilibet is torn between escaping to the safety of home and helping her new friends as she explores medieval England.

Hajek creates a very immersive experience as we—right alongside Lilibet—discover the sights, sounds, and smells of the Middle Ages. As I read about her reactions to sanitation standards, fashion, and food in the Middle Ages, I was reacting right alongside her. With Lilibet, we meet a fantastic cast of characters that include a fletcher’s son, a guard, and members of the Plantagenet family. I particularly enjoyed getting to see this period of England’s history through the eyes of children. Lilibet drew me into the story, but her relatability drew me into memories from my own childhood, when I’d craft makeshift bow-and-arrow toys in the backyard for hours on end. 

Now only is Lilibet a fun character to read about, but she is also extremely relatable. For example, at the story’s outset, Lilibet ponders how she does not fit in. While other homeschooled kids can understand—and get excited about—the various activities Lilibet does for school, “the church kids didn’t seem to know what to do with Lilibet and Ben.” Yet, when Lilibet is sent back to the Middle Ages, she realizes that even here, she still does not fit in. This conflict brings wonderful complexity and nuance to Lilibet’s character, and it’s one that I’m sure many preteen girls—regardless of whether or not they are homeschooled—can relate to. 

Initially, I was unsure about the narrative voice, since it seemed a little casual in some areas. However, I then thought about how this story is portrayed through the perspective of a twelve-year-old girl in the twenty-first century, and it's not supposed to read like a nineteenth century novel (it's a good thing it doesn't read like one of those!). It reads exactly as it should, and Lilibet's voice feels very authentic. As she narrates the events of the story, Lilibet eloquently expresses the feelings, struggles, and dreams of a preteen girl who is trying to have adventures and find her place in the world.  

Lilibet Lynn and the Children of Sherwood, Hajek has crafted an enjoyable novel that is fun, insightful, and accessible to a variety of readers.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I am excited to see what other time-traveling adventures are in store for Lilibet!

(I received a copy in exchange for a review, and all opinions are my own)

No comments:

Post a Comment