This was an atmospheric read. Enjoyable for young adults and adults alike. Now I want to read more from this author.
by Dr J Reads
Well-plotted, original, and reasonably researched without letting history overshadow story or feel pedantic, Oranges and Lemons is a massively enjoyable novel.
The manner in which Jessifer and Adeline are brought back and forth in the story is very effective. There is a strong and clear sense of place, and the minor characters are tangible and interesting: because of this, I wanted more of them, particularly Jessifer’s friends - they were all such realized characters that they deserved more in the story.
The way contemporary technology comes up is natural and expected; this is something that many recent timeslip stories fail at, but Andrews handles it adeptly. This is also true of the way she sets out the Victorian bits of the story - they’re credible, and Andrews gives just enough detail that a curious reader has someplace to start if she wishes to read more about the period.
My only real complaint is that I didn’t find Jessifer’s backstory necessary - it didn’t ring true for me, and the orphan trope is a tired one in children’s and YA fiction. Instead of bumping off her entire family but not conveying the impact adroitly, Andrews would have done better, if tragedy was integral - I don’t think it was, Jessifer would’ve been just as compelling and solid without earthshattering loss - then something that would’ve been less visible in the weave of the book as a whole would suit better.
All in all, this was a terrific read, and I look forward to more from Paula Andrews.
I have been a nurse, midwife and craftsperson. I grew up in North Yorkshire and now live in Glasgow with my husband and grown-up children. Writing seriously since 2012, I have won numerous prizes including Strathkelvin Writers' Group overall prize for 2019 and the Scottish Association of Writers prize for YA fiction in 2017. I have also been published in Aquila and Scottish Memories magazine.