The Rescue of Ravenwood by Natasha Farrant

Published by Faber & Faber, 2023.

The Rescue of Ravenwood is another triumph from Natasha Farrant. Oh, how I loved this book! One day, I even set my alarm for 5am so I could squeeze in some more chapters before work.

Perched overlooking the sea, Ravenwood – with its woodland, wildlife and an ancient ash tree – is home to Bea and Raffy and has been since they were babies. It’s an idyllic, almost magical, place – rich with memories and family tradition. The children, along with new house guest Noa, are planning the perfect summer holiday but then everything changes: Ravenwood is to be sold to a developer. They will lose their home and much of the wildlife will be destroyed.

Can the children save their home?

Bea, Raffy and Noa are principled and determined, fighting for what they believe in. They speak up when the adults around them have given up. They plot, make brave choices, and they mobilise. We are shown the power and importance of protest and environmental activism. We see how there’s strength in numbers and the impact of community action. This is a hopeful tale of how we (as individuals) have the power to make change.

There’s a very strong eco-message running throughout the book. The story itself is an ode to the natural world: the evocative descriptions radiate a love and respect for nature. There are so many wonderful scenes: a playful seal; an ancient tree; an elusive newt; and a majestic, spellbinding owl. We are shown the damage that humans are wreaking on the planet, from plastic pollution in the oceans, to polluted cities, and greedy, ruthless property developers who have no interest in what they destroy in the pursuit of profit.

Natasha Farrant writes brilliantly about family and belonging; and unconditional love and fierce loyalties, all the time while recognising the complexities and tensions of family relationships. I loved the different dynamics between the characters.

The book also explores the meaning of home. Is it with your parents? Or is it where you feel you belong, where you come alive and where you are free to be yourself? Within this context, the book also shines a light on the plight of refugees – those who have fled from war and have lost not only their homes but their homeland.

The Rescue of Ravenwood is a fabulous story of friendship and family, and the meaning of home. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 8+

Thank you to Faber & Faber for sending me this book to review.

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