A String in the Harp Critical Context - Essay

Nancy Bond

Critical Context

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

A String in the Harp is a time-shift novel in the tradition of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950). In both books, three children on their own in the country slip into another time. Time merges in simultaneous layers as events occur in the same place in different times. Folklore comes alive as the old songs and legends become real for the children. A String in the Harp is a fine rainy day book in which young readers can lose themselves. Both stories, that of Taliesin and of the Morgans, are engrossing. The outcome, what Peter will do with the key, is in doubt until the final pages, adding suspense to the tale.

Nancy Bond studied at the College of Librarianship in Wales and has written a novel that expresses her love for the setting, its folklore and its natural history. A String in the Harp is a long novel, with space for developing minor characters and themes along with the rich local color. The story of the modern family is fully developed, with the time-shifts so skillfully woven in that the fantasy of the past coming alive is easy to accept.

A String in the Harp, Bond’s first young adult novel, was named a Newbery Honor Book. She is respected for writing sensitive, original books that portray realistic characters who deal with serious life issues, as well as for novels that emphasize colorful settings.