For thirteen-year-old Charity, her life, it seems, is defined by her father’s illness, a man who suffers from clinical depression. Charity’s mother, Isadora and Charity, both love her father deeply, but they also understand they cannot make the changes in his life that he needs to make. In desperation, the pair move out from the family home and into an old mansion, that has seen better days. In Path to Old Talbot, by Jordan Elizabeth we find a coming-of-age story with hidden depths. Charity and Isadora discover, to their excitement and fear, within an old cupboard in the house, a portal to the past. The door opens up to their town of Talbot, but in the late 1800’s. Fascinated by their discovery and finding it an escape from the problems of her father, Charity embraces the old Talbot and quickly makes herself at home in the era, making a number of friends. When she realises that she may have the potential to alter the past and save her friends from a terrible fate, the problems begin.
Written from the perspective of thirteen-year-old Charity, Path to Old Talbot is a sweet, heart-warming tale, with serious undertones. Author Jordan Elizabeth has used the character of Charity’s father to demonstrate the debilitating effects of clinical depression, not just on the sufferer, but also on his or her family. The relationships within this story are what lifts it above your average coming-of-age novel. Charity has a natural impetuosity and a desire to help those she meets in the past, but she is also wise beyond her years, when it comes to the issue of mental illness and particularly depression. Written in a young teenager’s vernacular, the tale is easy to read and full of little twists and turns, that I enjoyed, especially when the author attempted to address that age-old issue of the time-travel paradox. If Charity made changes in the past, how would that affect the future? This was a most enjoyable read and a young adult book I can highly recommend.