Julius and the Watchmaker by Tim Hehir

This is a fast-paced time-slip story about a boy, Julius Higgins, caught between a revered member of the Guild of Watchmakers and the cunning but dastardly Jack Springheel. In another time, Spingheel lived with the Shelleys and borrowed from Mary Shelley’s ideas to create his own half-human clockmen. Or did Mary Shelley take his idea? Who knows?

The ideas here are complex and fascinating: time-slips and imagination can create other potential worlds and there are rare timepieces that produce a vortex between them. The alternate parallels into which Julius is hurled are rich and scary and strange. Some readers will relish the historical depth, while others will just gulp down the plot, but either way it’s a compelling read.

I can’t wait to hand-sell this to young readers: boys especially, though lots of girls will enjoy it too. It has everything going for it and the author lives locally. I agree with the publisher’s claim: a classic in the making for ages 12 and up.


Kathy Kozlowski is a Children’s Book Specialist who has worked in kid’s books for over 40 years. Positively retro! She is now pleased to have grandchildren whose literary tastes to indulge.