In aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, the Oakenfeld family is scared. The oldest daughter, Susan, normally a BBC junkie, is banned from watching any news and before long she and her brothers, Charles and Murray, are sent off to live in Canada with their Uncle Farley. Uncle Farley's home is a large, rambling estate, Drift House, situated on the Bay of Eternity. Yet from the moment they arrive, the Oakenfeld children feel that there is something just a bit off with the whole place, and the cook and caretaker who somehow manage to do all their work entirely unseen is only the least of it. Their impressions are confirmed when the next morning, they find that house has drifted off to sea. Yet instead of floating into the Bay of Eternity, they find themselves instead on The Sea of Time, uncontrolled and drifting dangerously close to The Great Drain.
What can I say about this book. I was thoroughly delighted by every moment. I listened to this with my boys, and the narrator Richard Poe only enhanced my enjoyment. This story was a grand adventure, sure to capture the imagination of boys, girls, and adults alike, with a full cast of characters ranging from a talking whale, fierce pirates, and mermaids. It had just the right amount of intersection between reality and fantasy without resorting to the outlandish. The Oakenfeld children were quirky, but not so much as to be unbelievable. And the fantastical creatures and people who populated the Sea of Time, were just that fantastical and complex. The plotting moved at a very good pace for a children's novel and yet their was enough to keep an adult interested as well.
Before seeing this book on the shelf at my library, I had never heard it mentioned before. That is a shame, because it was a well-written and engaging novel. The adventure will grab a child's imagination from the start. And for the parent, it serves as a way to start a conversation with your child about what happened on September 11th, 2001. It has the potential to be both a teaching tool and a fantastical escape. I think this definitely puts it in a special class of novels.