The Time Tree is a tiny and very old book (1989) which we recently culled from our school library. I had fond memories of reading this little time slip story so I picked it up yesterday.
Joanna and Rachel are best friends on the brink of starting High School. They visit a tree near their home and feel a 'presence' but the girls are fearful of confessing this to each other and so this disturbing sensation threatens to ruin their long standing friendship. Finally it all becomes too much and the girls, independently, decide to share this peculiar feeling that comes when they sit in their tree.
"Listen," said Joanna boldly, 'I think someone was watching us - yesterday after noon, when we were up in the tree. I mean there wasn't anyone around but I could sort of - feel it.' ... It was out at last, and they both felt better."
The girls have somehow connected with Anne who lives in 16th Century London. She is treated so badly by her family because she is deaf but Anne is a clever girl. Joanna and Rachel teach her to read and write and so her destiny changes.
Things change from this :
"She knew that she was a freak. She knew that her presence offended people, that her shadow falling on the wooden pails might sour the milk ... "
Her literacy skills now mean :
"Her father, somewhat unwillingly, tried teaching her to add figures together. In future years he would turn more and more towards this once rejected daughter, even asking for help when his accounts would not make sense."
Anne sews a sampler with a surprising image - one she had seen in the junior alphabet book Joanna and Rachel used with Anne in their tree. You will smile at the end of this book when the girls find this curious sampler in a museum. I enjoyed the way this story gives the reader small and personal insights into life in Elizabethan times. It does not seem important to know how or why Anne meets these modern girls - the meeting is just important for all three girls in ways none would have imagined.
Here is a review with more plot details. You might like to look for some other Enid Richemont books in your library.