1969. Twelve-year-old Andie longs to be an artist – she is particularly inspired by the moon – but no-one else understands. Her parents think being an artist is not a ‘proper’ job, her sister Prune is only interested in fashion, and her uninspiring art teacher Miss Temple calls her ‘talented but undisciplined’.
Then her Dad gets a job in London and they borrow a flat in Chelsea as a base for house-hunting. Suddenly, life changes. It is the Swinging Sixties. Prune loves the King’s Road boutiques. Andie is more interested in their new neighbours. A real artist lives in the basement, and Andie longs to show him her paintings – but will he sneer at them as Miss Temple does? Ravi Kapoor, an aspiring astronomer, lives on the first floor. Unbeknown to his parents, he goes up onto the roof to look at the stars and he offers to show Andie.
Soon, Andie’s life is opening out. She goes to the Rolling Stones’ free rock concert in Hyde Park (her mother is horrified), she star-watches with Ravi, and, meanwhile, the whole world watches with bated breath as the Apollo 11 Space Mission blasts off on its historic journey to land people on the moon. And then, she shows Patrick her portfolio of work ….
This is the Swinging Sixties as seen by an intelligent but provincial young girl. I enjoyed watching Andie’s wings gradually unfurl as she explored all the new possibilities. Unfortunately, at the end, her parents decide that they can’t afford to live in London, so they return to Slough, which is something of a damp squib to say the least! OK, they might not have been able to afford Chelsea but Fulham, say, at that date wasn’t prohibitively expensive. I was disappointed by such a downbeat ending.
- Elizabeth Hawksley
This book is about a 12-year-old girl who is a tomboy. She isn’t into girlie stuff and appreciates other things in life such as the moon. I like this because it makes the book interesting to read and unpredictable. I also have read the rest of the Historical House series and like knowing who lived in the house, at what time and what they got up to.
I like the fact that Andie and her sister Prune are so different because this causes conflict between them so that it is true to life.
My favourite part of the book is when Andie goes sky hopping with Ravi for the first time. This is because the author describes the moon and the sky outside so well. It seems so beautiful and calm.
I would say this book is best suited for girls ages 11-13. I would give it an 8/10 rating.
- Rachel Beggs (aged 12)