BOOK REVIEW: The Root Cellar, by Janet Lunn

RELEASE DATE: July 9, 1996
AUTHOR LINKS: WEB / GOODREADS / FACEBOOK
PUBLISHER: Knopf Canada (an imprint of Random House)
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Gifted
BUY NOW FROM: Amazon

It looked like an ordinary root cellar. And if twelve-year-old Rose hadn’t been so unhappy in her new home, where she’d been sent to live with unknown relatives, she probably would never have fled down the stairs to the root cellar in the first place. And if she hadn’t, she never would have climbed up into another century, the world of the 1860s, and the chaos of Civil War.

MY REVIEW (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) 

I’m not sure what exactly drew me to this book. I had no desire to pick up my current read, The Blind Man of Seville, so I wandered around my home library and pulled The Root Cellar, by Janet Lunn, off the shelf and just started reading.

It really wasn’t what I had expected – not that I had heard of the book or really knew what it was about, aside from a root cellar and a young girl. Right when I thought I wasn’t going to be reading more books about time travel, here I read about a young girl, Rose, who was left orphaned by her parents, thus going to live with an Aunt she never met.

Feeling like she wasn’t fitting in with her new family, Rose takes off to discover her new home only to find a root cellar. She goes down the steps and all of a sudden she’s in a different time. She meets new friends, Susan and Will, and when Will goes off to fight in the war, she helps Susan go to find him when they assume he’s hurt somewhere.

This is definitely not one of those children books that adults can get a lot out of, in my opinion. I found it to be really sappy in areas and quite unbelievable. I had my doubts that Rose could actually go back in time and pass off as a boy and do all the things she managed to do, especially since she came from a life of being spoiled and not having to do any manual labour.

It was a quick, light read.

The illustrations were nice, but unnecessary. The placement of them was quite off – even though it’s obvious that the girls will find Will, there is an illustration placed many pages before the reader even gets to that part, of Susan and Will embracing. Um, ruin the story, much?

In the end, Rose learns valuable lessons about friendship and what it means to find your place in the world.

Though, if you’re looking for books about time travel, I would recommend the Outlander series, or The Time Traveler’s Wife, especially if you’re an adult looking for a good read.

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My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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