Raven Winter

Susanna Bailey

Oh how I have counted down to this!

I absolutely adored Otters’ Moon and Snow Foal by Susanna Bailey, so this was a much anticipated January release I knew would beat the Winter blues and warm my heart. And if that wasn’t enough, part of the story is set in the Yorkshire Dales! It was such a joy to read about Skipton, Grassington and Malham Cove.

Perfect for fans of Gill Lewis, Susanna’s books unpick challenging issues, whilst celebrating the great outdoors and the healing power of nature.

Raven Winter sensitively explores emotional abuse and touches on domestic violence. Billie’s kind and nature loving dad is in prison. Her mum’s new boyfriend has moved in and he is extremely controlling. From the food they eat to who they can see, he checks up on mum all the time. If things don’t go his way, storm clouds gather and what follows is raised voices and razor-sharp silences.

Billie and mum tip-toe around Daniel, walking on eggshells so as not to upset him and there were many times throughout the book I held my breath for Billie. We see Billie wrestle with her emotions, wondering whether to stay and protect mum or run away. So many children live through the horror of domestic and emotional abuse and the book gently urges anyone in Billie’s situation to speak to someone, whether it be a friend, teacher, or another trusted adult.

Dad’s letters suddenly stopped 8 months ago and since then…silence. No visiting orders, no nothing.  Mum says she doesn’t know what’s going on with him, that prison’s changed him. But in her heart, Billie knows otherwise. He made a terrible mistake but she believes in her dad and knows he wouldn’t just give up on her. She’s desperate to find out what’s happened to him but with mum under Daniel’s terrifying hold, how will that be possible?

Frightened and alone, Billie discovers an injured young raven and through caring for him she finds friendship, hope and clues that might bring her closer to her dad. The connection between animals and humans in Susanna’s books is just wonderful and the tenderness, care, trust and understanding that is built.

Raven Winter was such a heartfelt and emotional read perfect for this time of year.

Raven Winter was published by Farshore books on the 6th January.

Click on the cover to read my review of Otters’ Moon, another irresistible book by Susanna Bailey.

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