Title: The Calling of Jackdaw Hollow
Author: Kate Gordon
Reviewer: Donna Dobson
I knew upon reading, that I would most likely recommend this book to the reader who likes a touch of melancholy, a bit of history, ghosts, death, and is a short read.
Kate Gordon has delivered a fine easy read on the surface, but there are complex themes that run deep if the reader should decide further contemplation.
Jackdaw was so named, as his mother had noticed a bird peeping through the window the morning of Jackdaw’s arrival, and she had noted that both baby and bird had a similar searching look. Jackdaw was an unsettled baby, and in desperation seeking to divert their squalling child, his parents take him outdoors into the night, to view a thunderstorm. However, his parents were killed by a lightning strike, and Jackdaw survived.
Orphaned, Jackdaw is taken in by the headmistress of Direleafe Hall, a girl’s school, and raised as her son. Yet Jackdaw feels as if his life has no meaning, and he decides he needs to find his calling so that he can make his one chance at life grand.
Jackdaw searches for his ‘calling’, and meets several people in his quest, many who try to help him. Three ghost girls befriend him and try to help, Angharad, the school’s apprentice cook is a patient friend, but it is a wild girl called Angeline, who dreams of joining the circus and escaping a brutal employer, that Jackdaw decides needs saving, thus giving meaning to his life. We observe Jackdaw being drawn too far into the wildness of Angeline’s life, and not always finding the answers he seeks. But all ends well, with Jackdaw realising that he already had a worthy life, a mother who loved him, girls at school who liked him, and Angharad, who loved him.
This book is a gentle ghost story, slightly gothic and eerie, yet a story that we can all relate to in our own search for destiny and meaning.
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