A trip to the past reveals family secrets and tragedies that help an Irish lad adjust to sad events in the present.
Cosmo’s brother, Brian, has recently died, his beloved grandfather Kevin is descending into dementia, his distraught mother has fled to Sydney in response, and his adored horse has been sent away. On a visit to nearby Blackbrick Abbey, he suddenly finds himself back in the 1940s, where he tries to impress the then–16-year-old Kevin with the importance of keeping both Brian and his powers of memory alive in years to come. He also helps Kevin to smuggle beautiful young Maggie onto the estate, but as Maggie proves less interested in Kevin than in the estate’s owner, the plot takes a soapy turn with an illegitimate child who turns out not to be the only one in the story. (Fitzgerald is coy about the sex, leaving Cosmo to puzzle over a character’s claim that Maggie is “unchased.”) Back in his own time, the discovery of hitherto-unknown family connections, along with the returns of his horse and his repentant mother, begins to buoy Cosmo. There’s far too much going on, but the author does thread Cosmo’s narrative with helpful precepts such as, “If you let the past determine your future, you’re probably screwed.”
The inexpertly juggled overabundance of storylines and themes makes this one to skip. (Time-travel fantasy. 11-13)