Today it’s my turn on the Celebrating #EarthDay Blog Tour with Natasha Farrant’s The Rescue of Ravenwood and I’m delighted to share again my review of this lovely book.
Sometimes when life feels overwhelming, when the enormity of the things that are out of your control hits home you need to be reminded that it is possible to bring about change in a small way. This is especially important for children and young people. Natasha Farrant has tackled the vast issues of the day such as the climate crisis and conservation of our natural environment and more personal themes such as family dynamics and relationships and drawn them together in an adventure that is compelling, exciting and at times emotionally moving. The Rescue of Ravenwood encompasses so much, empowering its readers but does so with a gentle touch.
The old house of Ravenwood is situated in the north of England, sitting high up on the hillside overlooking the bay and surrounded by ancient woodland. The house has been a home for hundreds of years and at present is it home to Bea and her Uncle Leo and Raffy and his mum, Martha, a blended and happy little family. In the summer holidays after Bea and Raffy have left primary school everything changes; Noa a girl from the village comes to stay, Bea’s parents from she has been estranged contact her saying they want her to join them on a trip abroad and Uncle Jack visits with his friend both of whom who have plans for Ravenwood and its land.
Bea, Raffy and Noa, so different in personality, are united in their wish to protect Ravenwood and as the adventure develops these three children take on challenges they would have previously thought unimaginable as they fight to save something precious. Although separated by circumstances they unite in their endeavours and the story told from their different viewpoints whisks the reader to London, across Europe and up to the topmost branches of the ancient tree that guards the entrance to Ravenwood, named Yggdrasil by Leo after the tree of folklore.
I will struggle to avoid clichés as I describe this book as it really does have a feel of a classic and I genuinely couldn’t put it down! As I read I would occasionally mutter to anyone in the same room, “this is really good”. So, how to explain its appeal? Natasha Farrant is skilful at providing just enough detail to draw her reader in then tease them with a thought or comment which makes them want to discover more. The narrative switches between the three children’s point of view giving the story an immediacy and an added sense of involvement. The fabulous setting had a nostalgic appeal for me as an adult reminding me of beach settings in Blyton books, and the old house and its surroundings, if further south, could have been Rebecca’s Manderley. Bea, Raffy and Noa are well rounded and believable characters and the fact that all three develop in maturity and understanding throughout the book is an aspect that adds to its impact for young readers.
The Rescue of Ravenwood covers a great deal, looking at what makes a family, the importance of somewhere to call home and, central to the plot, the need to protect our natural world from those who may despoil it either by greed or lack of understanding. A book with an important message and one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I would like to thank Bethany Carter and Faber Books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for providing my review copy. The Rescue of Ravenwood was published on 23rd February.
Please do check out the other stops on the Blog Tour to read more about this fantastic book from these wonderful bloggers. Finally Faber Books have published some excellent teaching resources linked to The Rescue of Ravenwood which you can download here.
Excellent! My next book purchase!
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I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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