Allen & Unwin
Published by
Allen & Unwin (2013-08)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Children’s / Teenage fiction: General fiction


by Murray, Kirsty

Lucy McKenzie can walk through walls. A fascinating time-slip adventure set in a hidden valley where an 11-year-old girl travels across the river of time to fight fires, battle floodwaters and discover the meaning of true friendship.

Lucy can’t wait for Christmas, especially as her big sister Claire is coming home from France to celebrate with her. But then the phone rings in the middle of the night and suddenly Lucy’s Mum is off to Paris, where Claire has had a bad accident. Lucy is horrified to find that she is to spend Christmas, and the summer holidays, with Great-Auntie Big in her isolated country house. As Christmas approaches Lucy feels she has never felt so lonely – until the night she discovers she can enter the magical floor-to- ceiling paintings of the four seasons that cover the dining room walls.
The room was full of moon shadows and dancing light. But it was the wall around the window that Lucy couldn’t stop staring at, the one with the painting of Spring. It was as bright as a sunny day and the tiny yellow flowers that covered the fields were moving, as if a breeze had blown through the painting and set all the petals dancing.
Then she heard the voice again. It sounded like a child’s voice coming out of the painting. She looked again and in the distance, on the far side of the painted valley she could see the tiny figure of a girl. And the girl was waving, beckoning to Lucy and calling her name.
On the other side of the paintings, Lucy meets April, Tom and the wild Jimmy Tiger. They introduce Lucy to a world of adventure, racing horses through the bush, swimming in fast-flowing rivers and battling bushfires. But can Lucy see the truth that lies behind the painted walls and bring hope to the future? Or will she risk losing the things that matter most before she realises the power of the past and the love of the one person who understands the painted world?

Kirsty Murray is an award-winning author of nine novels for young people including India Dark, Vulture’s Gate, Zarconi’s Magic Flying Fish, Market Blues, Walking Home with Marie-Claire and the epic quartet of historical fiction, ‘Children of the Wind’.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk



With a less accomplished writer, this kind of story could become simple nostalgia, but here it is triumphant. A powerful story of life's continuity; magical realism at its best.

Review: Kirkus Starred Review (USA)

It is a wonderful story of adventure and relationships, with vivid descriptions to transport the reader.

Review: JUNO Spring 2014 (UK)

A sweet, slow-paced, coming-of-age story with magical and historical elements... Kids will love the Australian differences as well as the fantastical themes. Recommended for fans of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.


More like this