CBRA Review - Tunnels of Time

Reviewed by: Steve Pitt

 When 13-year-old Andrea was first told that she would have to be a bridesmaid at her rival cousin's wedding, she expected to be alternately bored and teased to tears by her annoying Saskatoon relations. Instead, Andrea is trapped like a rat in a maze of underground tunnels. Somehow, she has gone back in time to the year 1924 when drinking alcohol and gambling were illegal in Canada. Dressed in boys clothes, Andrea is mistaken as a new recruit for a criminal gang run by Scarface, a ruthless mobster from Chicago who uses the unnels to hid his activities from the police.

Despite Scarface's sometimes violent outbursts, Andrea finds herself almost liking her boss and feeling conflicting emotions when she accidentally hears a disgruntled gang member conspiring to turn Scarface over to the police.

This is an impressive first novel from Saskatoon writer Mary Harelkin Bishop. Besides turning out a fast-paced, time-travel adventure, Bishop manages to include several fascinating subthemes, such as why Andrea was such a brat to her Saskatoon relatives and how some people--even as repulsive as Scarface--can generate loyalty, even affection, from the very people they abuse. Bishop also helps to remind readers that Saskatoon, like all places, can be a fascinating setting when someone knows how to tell a story. Highly recommended.

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