I should probably preface this review by saying that I adore time travel stories. This book had been recommended to me by our school librarian. I cannot express enough how valuable school librarians are!
The Ivory Rose follows Jemma, a girl from a well-off family in Sydney. Her parents have high expectations of her, and she would often rather spend time at her best friend Ruby's house - with their chaos and fun. She starts baby sitting a little boy in a grand old house - who seems to be able to see things she can't! After an accident, Jemma wakes up in 1895, where she learns that the grand old house is hiding secrets.
Rating: 5 out of 5! I enjoyed everything about it. The characters were all well-written, the plot was as believable as a story about time travel can be.
Age Suggestion: 9+
Ability Range: At more than 250 pages (and quite small print), it certainly needs a confident reader. I know many students in Grade 4 who could certainly conquer it. It would make a great book club choice for extension readers (Penguin have even created a resource for teachers here)
Content Notes: There are many wonderful themes around friendship and family in this novel, and I think, very relatable to young girls in particular. The historical aspect of this book is wonderful for this age group. It's informative without being overwhelming or too complex. There's notes about the history of the time at the end of the novel, and students studying the Federation/ Australian history in school will find links and connections while reading. There's nothing I would consider inappropriate, especially considering the time it is based on. There are references to Laudanum (a mix of opium and alcohol) and Arsenic, as well as the effects they may have - on adults, children, and disturbingly, babies. Unfortunately, this too is historically accurate.
I cannot recommend this enough! I'll definitely be picking up more of Belinda Murrell's novels and get back to you!
Make sure you pick up a copy of The Ivory Rose, and support an Australian author!