Raven is the story of four teenage boys growing up in the Suffolk countryside who enlist to fight in the First World War. One of the boys falls in love with an enchantingly beautiful, blue-eyed, dark-haired, local, young girl of the same age before going off to war, but she is clearly not of this world and has a supernatural secret.
The raven is her companion, a mysterious, red-eyed bird who accompanies her wherever she goes. The bird is powerful and strong and highly intelligent and has endured across the ages.
The book spans three distinct periods, modern-day 1985, the turn of the century, and the 17th century. It is a tale of innocence, love, discovery, supernatural intrigue, and the horrors and brutality of war.
Raven is the first in a series of supernatural stories that explore the development and influence of the red-eyed creature over distinct periods of time and different locations.
What begins for our characters as something uncertain and confusing, but at the same time comforting and protective, quickly transitions into something far more sinister and much more deadly, as the forces of darkness coalesce to extend their diabolical and malevolent reach across the world.
Raven is an intriguing and captivating book spanning multiple centuries, from back in the 17th century, when they hung witches, to current-day (!) 1985 but it has one constant: Raven.
I loved reading about Louisa and her fate (I won’t tell you, you’ll have to read the book) – it was her story that drew me in first. Raven is a book that makes you think about people’s behaviour and prejudices, it shows us the cruelty of war but it is also a story of love and romance. Boy meets girl, and Billy is smitten when he meets Willow. She’s different from other girls, she’s compassionate and kind, and knows how to ride a horse.
Billie falls in love but then the world is in uproar as WWI is about to break out. What will Billie do? The skills he learned from his friend’s father might very well come in handy but can anyone really prepare for the horrors of war? With shock, we read about the boys, not men, fighting for freedom in that desolated place. Where the enemy becomes real, has a face, and where warfare is no longer an exciting game…
Boy meets girl: David and his fiancee Tilly are as fascinated with Billy’s story as we are. Billy is David’s grandfather and when David received a box filled with pictures and diaries that once belonged to his grandfather, he just has to find out more about the man. Oh, and somewhere on one of their walks, Tilly meets Raven for the first time.
Whereas I did find an inequality between the chapters about the preparation for war and the war itself, and where the last two chapters felt like all had to be wrapped up too quickly and concisely, I did enjoy reading the first book in the Raven series and found it intriguing.
The author weaves his compelling story throughout the centuries – it’s well written, engaging, and entertaining. It leaves me wanting for more. What happened to Willow? Will Billy and Willow ever see each other again? Will the gruesome stories of WWI continue and … what will David and Tilly do? What about the red-eyed Raven?
Paul Leatherdale has left his readers with quite a few questions – and I for one am eager to find out in the next book in the series!
About the Author
Paul Leatherdale was born in Colchester but lived in East Bergholt for a few years before moving away with his family to Japan where his father worked for a British trading company.
Paul has an honours degree in business studies and worked closely with the financial markets for over 30 years. Starting his career initially in London, he moved to Singapore and also to Hong Kong, where he worked for nearly 20 years for a major US corporation.
He currently lives near Framlingham in Suffolk with his wife and two children.
Paul has a profound love of nature and the British countryside. He likes to spend his time travelling around Suffolk, drinking the odd cup of tea, chatting a bit, and walking with his wife Fiona and their two dogs.
Pages 300 Publisher Leathers Press (6 Jan. 2021) IBAN (paperback) 9781838336608 ASIN (e-book) B08S72DRBY