Set in the 1950s (it was written in 1956), it's about Tom, who being quarantined, is sent to the country to live with his aunt and uncle. They live in old house which has been converted into flats and which has no garden. One night, unable to sleep, Tom discovers that at midnight the downstairs clock rings 13 times and he is transported back in time to the Victorian era when the house had a beautiful garden. He wanders the garden and meets a girl called Hatty who becomes his friend. He returns again and again during his stay. For him, time stands still when he is in the garden but Hatty continues to grow older. Things come to a head when he is about to be sent home again. I won't tell you anymore as I'm going to spoil the ending!
It's been wonderful to revisit this book with my children. It is a delightful, beautifully written book. In Written for Children, John Rowe Townsend summarized, "If I were asked to name a single masterpiece of English children's literature since [the Second World War] ... it would be this outstandingly beautiful and absorbing book."
Jacob and Rebecca read the book quickly after my initial encouragement and both loved it and wrote positive reviews of it. We also watched the movie together and the whole family enjoyed it (which is actually saying a lot - when you love a book, the movie usually disappoints!). I recommend the book and movie to people of all ages whether you're living in Cambridge or not!