Ratchet the Reluctant Witch

Written by Sara Pascoe
Review by Jo Barton

The eponymous Rachet is a troubled fourteen-year-old who is tired of living in foster care and desperate to find her own way in the world. When she runs away to London, not only does she find that living her life without adult interference is quite different, but also she discovers she has started to develop rather unusual witch-like powers. This new skill is called into question when she is unexpectedly transported back in time to the seventeenth century, back to when life was very different. Testing her reserve to the limit, Ratchet must learn how to cope with her new powers whilst at the same time trying to save her friends from danger.

Aimed at the juvenile market, this book is an imaginatively written timeslip novel, which I think would appeal mainly to eleven to fourteen year olds, and to girls rather than boys. The mystery at the heart of the novel is well explained as is Ratchet’s role, and even though the story appears quite light-hearted in places, its underlying message of love, loyalty and friendship is nicely explored and strongly focused.

Professionally produced to a very high standard with appropriately designed cover art, there is much to enjoy about the story. The historical element sits comfortably alongside the modern-day setting and there is enough action to keep interest alive until the end.