Saskatchewan Publishers' Group Weekly Book Picks Review - Secret of the Stone Circle

Saskatchewan Publishers' Group Weekly Book Picks
Reviewed by: Shelley Leedahl

Shortly after I dived into Judith Silverthorne's juvenile novel 'The Secret of the Stone Circle, 'I was reminded of what I'd been missing. Each time I put the book down I'd feel a 'tug, 'and look forward to returning. What was happening with the characters? How would the plot evolve? A good book is like that: it gets its hooks into you. In Silverthorne's latest book, the prolific and award-winning Regina writer introduces readers to a contemporary character who travels back in time. Young Emily, travels to Scotland to spend time with her geologist father (whom she's not seen since her parents decided to divorce), and to learn more about her family's Scottish ancestry. Before leaving, she finds a hand mirror in her recently deceased grandmother's home, and the image in the mirror is not Emily's own. Thus begins a unique mystery and Emily's diligent search to learn more about her ancestral people and places, like the Abbey of Deer, an ancient monastery and Aikey Brae, the stone circle of the title, where the vicious battle between Edward the Bruce and the Buchans was fought in the 1300s. Silverthorne meticulously weaves past, present, and three cultures. The author credibly evokes a Scots flavour through words like 'quinie'(lass), 'laird,''claymore,'and 'kirk'. Mairead uses the word 'Dewlessa,'a Romani blessing. I appreciated the research that obviously went into this book. I learned, for example, that the Roma people were a sect 'from the warrior classes of northern India.'Around 800 AD they were driven from their homes and they wandered in Persia and Egypt for centuries. They became known as 'Little Egyptians,'from which the word 'gypsy' derives.'The Secret of the Stone Circle' is another in a long line of victories for Judith Silverthorne, and for publisher Coteau Books. I was hooked. So glad I took the time.

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