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“Were it but free, it would soar cloud-high” (Charlotte Bronte)

Reading this achingly-tender memoir, embodied through words, is to move beyond words – to the riding of a wave of rapturous, primal connection where emotion, pure and atavistic, soars free.

As the author, a young British wife, follows her husband to his new posting in Ghana, Africa, she learns first-hand the disabling pain of alienation, as she struggles to find her footing in a climate and terrain as foreign to her frame-of-reference as it is to her sense of identity.

A natural-history lover and long-time dedicated observer of wildlife, the author’s scrutiny of flying swifts – a globally-migratory bird so familiar to her that it immediately brings comfort – helps begin her transition to a form of settling-in.

When, unexpectedly, an injured swift requires rescue, an exquisitely-delicate dance of healing, both for the bird and the author herself – “an act of hope, an asking to belong” – is set in motion.

As it unfurls, the universality of love, connection and compassion between the human and her new self-appointed charge, (surely some of the most touching passages ever captured in recent language?), is as mesmerizing as it is anxiety-inducing. Will this tiny fledgling survive?

“For a moment I felt as though I was made of sunlight”.

“I had a sense of awe that I never got used to. There he was, a wild bird, born from a little egg high up in a grass nest between the dark leaves of a mango tree. Now he was with me, comforted by the beat of my heart and the sound of my voice. I got to see this. I got to feel this. A wild creature in the palm of my hand.”

Sure enough, there are twists and turns, (both heart-breaking and enthralling), yet to appear in this story, as we grow to love and hope, along with the author, in the transformation we can see unfolding.

Can wildness (with the purest of healing intentions) be captured (even momentarily)?

Just what secrets could one tiny “feathery ball of happiness” have to teach us all?

No spoilers here, you will have to read (and I urge you to read) this exquisite book to find out more.

My stop today on the #Fledgling #blogtour @HannahwriterBT @arumPress @RandomTTours

A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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