I received a copy of Black Dove, White Raven through a giveaway by Michelle Toy (whose fantastic book blog Tales of Yesterday you can find here).
I don’t normally read historical novels but Black Dove, White Raven has definitely changed my mind! Told in alternating perspectives of Emilia and Teo, whose friendship was born out of their pilot mothers’ alliance and follows them as they grow up, and move to Ethiopia after a tragic accident tears their little unit apart. Due to the difference in their skin colour, they adopt their mothers’ partnership name “Black Dove, White Raven” and use these names in the stories they write throughout the novel.
The first half focuses on Em and Teo adjusting to Ethiopian life, and coping with the aftermath of Teo’s mother’s death while forming relationships with the people of Ethiopia and all the obstacles they face. The second half is more intense, as Italy invade Ethiopia in an effort to colonise the country, and Em and Teo are split up. Unlike in the first half, the dual perspectives become much more interesting, as Teo and Em both describe their experiences as they try to find one another again.
This book was truly brilliant, as Elizabeth Wein created such an engrossing story, with realistic characters and neatly tied the dual POVs together, leaving a longing for more when you’ve finished. It was full of twists and turns, and plenty of research went into this book so it was an accurate portrayal of that time period. However, one of the things I really loved though, was the fact that Emilia and Teo remained friends. They didn’t embark on a romantic relationship when they got older, which I was glad about. Some books today forget that first friendships are just as important as first loves.
Rating: 5 stars.