Fifteen-year-old Jen had stayed home in America when her father, brother, and sister moved to Wales for a year, after the unexpected death of their mother. When she joins them in December for a holiday visit, Jen discovers a distracted father, a sullen brother, and a young sister who misses her terribly. Peter, the middle child, finds an ancient harp key that somehow tunes in to scenes from the life of the legendary sixth-century Welch bard, Taliesin. Strangely, Peter isn't the only one to experience that earlier century; people around him -- including neighbors -- see lights and hear fighting, too.
It sounds like a fairy tale, but I thoroughly enjoyed this magical realism and learned about the life of Taliesin while exploring the countryside of Wales and visiting the farms in the vicinity of Borth. I feel like I've actually been there and felt the mysterious history still living in the people and the soil of Wales. When I "travel" in books like this, I can say with one of the characters (p. 273):
"The world looks quite different to me from this side of the ocean, I have to admit."Click to enlarge the photos, and see if you can also feel the mystery. I give this Newbery Honor Book a rating of 8 out of 10, very good.