HarperCollins, £17.99

'Sands of Time' is Erskine's third collection of short stories. In it, she presents us with a kind of sequel to an earlier novel, 'Whispers in the Sand', as well as a number of narratives described as "haunting tales from the shifting sands of time".

Many of the narratives focus on meetings with spirits or ghostly figures from times past. A woman on holiday in modern-day France makes love to a young soldier from the Second World War, while a newly pregnant woman witnesses a tragedy from the past, which teaches her a timely lesson.

Magic and sorcery also feature strongly as do love and heartbreak. In the sequel to 'Whispers in the Sand', the evil Lord Carstairs crosses both time and space in his quest to gain possession of the magical tears of Isis.

While the stories are nicely written, they are repetitive and do get tedious. Many are variations on the same theme and it feels very much like rereading the same tale over and over again. Also, the supernatural elements are too simplistic - it's fine for a story to be far-fetched, but it requires a little explanation to make it feel plausible. Unfortunately, Erskine doesn't provide us with that rationalisation, and, as such, she has little to offer a contemplative reader.

'Sands of Time' is just not a book that makes you think. There are children's books available that are more taxing than this.

Katie Moten