Both beautiful & terrifying ~ ‘Black Dove, White Raven’ by Elizabeth Wein #Review #COYER

Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth WeinThis story is just full of opportunities for tragedy. In flight logs, letters and stories, the tale of how a white American woman, her white daughter and black son came to live in Ethiopia…and what happened during the years leading up to World War II. There are strange twists and turns in the relationships between the family, the land, and its people.

It was Delia’s dream to live in Ethiopia; after all, Teo’s father, Gedeyon, was born there. Delia and Gedeyon met in France, though, when he was there working as the secretary to an Ethiopian lord. They married, but before Teo was born, Gedeyon died during the influenza outbreak in 1919. Momma, Rhoda Menotti, had married Papa Menotti and had Emilia. Though they remained married, they didn’t see each other often, especially once Momma moved back with Em, Delia and Teo to the states. Delia and Momma were only in France to learn how to fly planes; after all, no one would teach women to fly, especially a black woman.
But once they returned to the US, they became a sensation. Delia flew the plane while Momma was a wing walker. They toured the states until the unthinkable happened: Delia was killed by a propeller during a bird strike. Broken, Momma, Em and Teo returned to Pennsylvania to live with Momma’s Quaker parents on their farm. Then after a year, Momma left. She suddenly decided that she was going to fulfill Delia’s dream and move the three of them to Ethiopia. And after two years without her, Em and Teo joined her there. Life was very different, but very wonderful; for the first time, Teo blended in. Until the Italian dictator, Mussolini, decided that he wanted Ethiopia – the only African country that was never colonized.
Then Teo is told that he has no choice but to fly for Ethiopia, they are devastated. He is only fifteen. And as the enemy circles closer, Em knows what she must do to save them all.

I hear “sweeping” frequently used when describing movies that have panoramic vistas; I must say that the word feels like it fits here so well. The descriptions of the land and the views the characters have while flying are amazing. Maybe, too, it is because of my ignorance of that time and area. I just have always imagined that the towns and cities, though probably choked with people, are few and far between. In my mind’s eye I see a massive amount of open spaces with small islands of city.

This is a powerful story, especially when you think about the time period. In 1935 America, what would happen to Teo? Would living in Ethiopia be a better deal for him, what with racism and restrictions for blacks in the US during that time? Would he and Em still be able to be close as brother and sister?

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein was published march 21, 2015 by Disney Hyperion. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the Publisher, the Author and NetGalley.

Rating: 4

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Historical Action/Adventure Diversity
Ages: 13 and up

COYER Scavenger Hunt #50: Read a book that contains all the letters in the word BLACK. (4 points)

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