February Indie Book of the Month; A Funeral For An Owl by Jane Davis

It’s the end of the month, so that means it’s Indie Book of the Month time here on my blog. This is a new feature for 2018, where each month I will highlight the best indie book I read. This month please let me introduce you to another award-winning writer, Jane Davis. I first discovered Jane’s writing when another author I admire, recommended her book An Unchoreographed Life. I read it and loved it; it ticked every box for me as a reader. For this reason I was very keen to read A Funeral For An Owl and it did not disappoint at all. When I read books, I want good writing and a good plot, something to keep me turning the pages, but I also want to feel invested in the characters. I want to feel strongly about them, I want to worry about them and wish I knew them. Jane’s characters satisfy this need for me. It left me feeling I am in safe hands with her as  writer and will enjoy anything she writes because of this.

So, here is the blurb for A Funeral For An Owl;

A schoolyard stabbing sends wingbeats echoing from the past.

One shocking event. Two teachers risk their careers to help a boy who has nothing. Three worlds intersect and collide.

‘If you want to laugh and cry and stamp and cheer – all in the space of a few hours – then this book is the one for you.’ Bookmuse

The best way to avoid trouble, thinks Ayisha Emmanuelle, is to avoid confrontation. As an inner-city schoolteacher, she does a whole lot of avoidance.

14-year-old Shamayal Thomas trusts no one. Not the family, not the gang. And at school, trusting people is forbidden.

Jim Stevens teaches history. Haunted by his own, he still believes everyone can learn from the past. History doesn’t always have to repeat itself.

A powerful exploration of the ache of loss set in a landscape where broken people can heal each other.

Fresh, funny, heartbreaking and real, this original and compassionate study of when to break the rules and why is perfect for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Rachel Joyce and Ali Smith.

“A perfect balance of gritty and feel-good.” society that is supposed to protect the most vulnerable.”

And here is my Amazon/Goodreads review;

“Having previously read another novel by this author, I was keen to read more and A Funeral For An Owl did not disappoint. In fact, it ticked so many boxes for me as a reader that I instantly pre-ordered the author’s new book which is out in the Spring, and I will be working my way through her backlist without a doubt. The plot of this book revolves around Jim, a history teacher who is stabbed while trying to protect a pupil at school, his colleague Ayisha who witnesses the attack, and Shamayal, a fourteen-year-old pupil Jim has befriended. Jim helps the boy one rainy night and a friendship grows between them, which is of course, very much against the rules. On the surface, it may seem like Jim and Shamayal have little in common, but it turns out Jim grew up in the same block of flats on the same notorious council estate and suffered many of the same issues Shymayal is dealing with. They even have a friend in common, Bins, a local misfit who knows everyone on the estate by the nick-names he gives them but is unable to recognise faces. With Jim in hospital, Ayisha comes to his aid and discovers the unlikely friendship between him and the boy. At first, she is very disapproving but as the story continues she finds herself drawn deeper into the lives of Jim and Shamayal. This book does an excellent job of weaving the past with the present. In 1992, Jim was a twelve-year-old boy with a penchant for bird-watching. His father is in prison, his older brother has been thrown out, and the estate is rife with danger from gangs. One day, Jim finds a teenage girl in his bird-spotting place. The mysterious Aimee White provides the thread that holds the past and present together. Jim’s friendship with her, the funeral for the owl and what happened to her, are things that have haunted Jim throughout his life. The reason this book ticked every box for me was that the plot kept me turning the pages, and the characters kept me there as I became increasingly engrossed in their lives. I wanted to find out what happened to Aimee, I wanted Ayisha and Jim to recognise the attraction between them, and I desperately wanted things to turn out well for Shamayal, who was probably my favourite character. A brilliant book, so well-written and compelling. I highly recommend it and this author!”

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Other Indies I’ve Enjoyed This Month;

The Finest Hat In The Whole World by Colleen A. Parkinson

Best Traditionally Published Book of The Month;

Release by Patrick Ness

 

 

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