Voice of Youth Advocats Review - Tunnels of Time

Reviewed by: Vivian Howard

First-time novelist Bishop uses the somewhat familiar formula of taking a modern teenager and sending her back through time. This time-travel device serves a dual purpose: to explore an exciting moment in history and to gain a greater understanding and sympathy for the protagonist's ancestors. Bishop chooses the southern Canadian prairie town of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, for her adventure, sending her protagonist Andrea back to the Roaring Twenties, when Moose Jaw was "Little Chicago," the gateway for gangsters smuggling illegal liquor from Canada into the United States. The tunnels referred to in terrifying passages running underneath the main streets of town and used by gangsters in their smuggling operations.

Although Andrea is a feisty and likeable character, Bishop's book is ultimately unsatisfactory. Andrea, although obviously intelligent, is simply too naïve to be believable; any reasonably attentive reader will figure out the mystery at least one hundred pages before Andrea clues in. Most frustrating is the absence of any explanation in the book of Moose Jaw's reputation as "Little Chicago" or of the network of tunnels. Most readers will not know if these represent historical fact or are mere creative license on the part of the author. Is this book a work of pure fantasy, or is it an opportunity to expose a little-known episode in the history of an almost forgotten, but once renowned, Canadian town? Readers should be left confused by the historical facts.

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