Mira, a spirited and adventurous Jewish girl, is introduced in Lost in Paris where she realizes that, like her mother, she has the gift of being able to time travel. When Mira receives a cryptic postcard that has a picture of the Colosseum, she understands that her mother is giving her clues to her next adventure and Mira tells her father they must travel to Rome to try to find her! In Italy, while sightseeing in the beautiful church of Santa Maria degli Angeli with her brother Malcolm, Mira is pulled back into sixteenth-century Rome and the real quest begins! Disguised as a boy, Mira travels under the name of Marco and works in the kitchen of Monsignore Del Monte chopping vegetables and learning how to kill a chicken! Through her association with this prominent family, Mira is introduced to the amazing artists of the time such as Carravaggio, who uses her as a model, the divine astronomer, Galileo, and the famed mathematician, Giordano Bruno, who is destined to burn as a heretic. As the background of the Inquisition unfolds, Mira mentions her unease about the way the Jews of Rome are treated. When Mira’s work in Rome is done, she travels back into the present for good, having learned life lessons about tolerance and knowing that her interactions with Bruno helped him remain strong through his imprisonment, thus allowing his knowledge to remain intact for future generations.
Part mystery, part historical fiction, this is an engaging and fun adventure story. Mira is a precocious, larger than life character, who embraces every experience she can! Although this story stands alone as a separate novel, readers will have a better insight into Mira, her family, and her Jewish heritage if they read the preceding novel, as well. The ending, left with several unanswered threads, is wide open for a third title in the series.
With a wonderful bibliography, a great map of Rome, and detailed thumbprint ink illustrations throughout the text, this would be a valuable source for a geography lesson.
Recommended for ages 9 and up.