I’m currently listening to Elizabeth Wein’s Black Dove White Raven in the car.
When I popped the first disc in, I felt a little unsure as the story began. It didn’t seem to be much of a story and I was confused by the setting (why didn’t I know the story was set in Ethiopia?). But I loved her two earlier novels, Code Named Verity and Rose Under Fire, so I had faith that the story would pull me in as they had. I’m now on the 4th disc, and it has.
The novel is set in the Ethiopia of the 1930’s, on the cusp of war with Mussolini’s Italy. Haile Selassie’s coronation, attempts to modernize his country while fending off European aggression and speech to the UN form the historical backdrop. Here is a news clip about his speech that failed to convince the League of Nations members to help.
This is historical fiction done well. It is also a moving story about friendship what makes a family.
Publisher’s Summary: Emilia and Teo’s lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo’s mother died immediately, but Em’s survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother’s wishes―in a place where he won’t be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.
Seeking a home where her children won’t be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?
In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.