I loved that word: soulmate. We asked Grandma what it meant and she said, ‘Two people who understand each other without talking about it. Two halves of a whole’.
Delia and Rhoda are female stunt pilots, one black and one white. They strive for a life where their gender or colour will not determine their life. A fateful accident kills Delia, Teo’s mother. Rhoda wishes to live the dream for Delia and is determined to give a better life for Teo and moved to Ethiopia with her daughter Em. Both Teo and Em have to learn to adapt in a strange country, to learn a new language but they finally feel at home. Years later the family are at danger and are torn apart and separated by war and they try to make their way back to each other.
If any of you follow my blog you will probably already know what huge fan I am of Elizabeth Wein and her previous books Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire. So I was beyond excited to get accepted on NetGalley for Black Dove, White Raven, it is such a shame it took me so long to read it due to my life getting in the way. Just like Elizabeth Wein’s previous books, this is a rich and powerful novel about family, friendship, hope and bravery.
Elizabeth Wein looks at both gendered and racial prejudices that Teo, Em, Delia and Rhoda experience in both USA and Ethiopia and I think she does it splendidly well. The characters were fantastically written – I never expected anything less – and were complex and their relationships were so well written and dynamic. That is definitely a strength of Elizabeth Wein, she can always write such realistic relationships and show that love that they all have for each other. I adored the relationship between Teo and Em, but also with Em’s mother Rhoda. They were all so captivating together, but also individually.
The historical setting felt really well researched and so rich in detail. She doesn’t sugarcoat the sacrifices and casualties of war, and the horrors which many people went through during the Italo-Ethiopian War.
While Black Dove, White Raven was not as heart-breaking and emotional as Code Name Verity, and probably not as captivating, I still found it to be a fantastic read. The start was fantastic and strong, as was the second half of the book, it started to get tense and exciting, but around 20%-50% the pacing was very slow, but it did not lessen my enjoyment.
Overall, I would definitely recommend for fans of Elizabeth Weinand Code Name Verity and those who have an interest in history and pilots and planes.
MY RATING: ★★★★★