Fitzgerald, Sarah Moore. Back to Blackbrick.
3 September 2013, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Cosmo lives with his grandmother and grandfather. His mother has moved to Australia to pursue business opportunities, but mainly to get away from the spectre of the death of Cosmo's older brother. Things are going well; Cosmo enjoys his grandparents, rides horses, and puts up with kids in his school, knowing that things will be better when he gets home. When it becomes apparent that his grandfather is sinking quickly into senility, Cosmo tries to help, but is unable to effect any change. In one last, lucid moment, his grandfather presses a key into his hand and demands that Cosmo go through the south gate of Blackbrick Abbey. When Cosmo does, he meets his grandfather... at the age of 16! Deciding that he might as well stay in the past (around the time of WWII), Cosmo gets to know Kevin (his grandfather) well, and enjoys working in the stables of Blackbrick. He meets the girl Kevin wants to marry, but it's not his grandmother! This gives him some pause, and he tries to arrange things. When he decides to leave, he tries to get his grandfather to prevent the death of his brother in the future. Knowing more about his grandfather (and his grandmother as well) gives him the strength to deal with things when he returns to the present.
Strengths: The premise of this was enthralling-- Irish country house, meeting a grandfather a youth, trying to help a grandparent with Alzheimer's. For the most part, this delivered.
Weaknesses: For some reason, this wasn't quite what I had hoped. But then, I had REALLY high hopes for this one. The story about Maggie, the girl Kevin liked, fell a bit flat for me, and I could guess right away who Cosmo's grandmother really was. I think this missed the cozy country house aspect that is appealing in so many time travel books. Too many problems all around, which is realistic; just not what I want in a time travel book!