"Set against contrasting Ghanaian and British landscapes, this touching memoir explores nature’s power to offer us hope, purpose and a sense of belonging when we need it the most. "
As a child, Hannah Bourne-Taylor was fascinated by the natural world – especially birds. When she moves to Africa with her husband and feels her sense of identity and purpose slipping away, it’s the birds in the surrounding grasslands that she turns to for comfort. Her efforts to hand-raise two wild fledglings – a swift and a mannikin finch – lie at the core of this beguiling story, but it’s her bond with the birds and what they come to symbolise that adds real emotional depth. Exploring the author’s efforts to adjust socially and psychologically, this poignant account dips and soars like her beloved feathered friends. Feelings of isolation and insanity make way for joyful moments of connection; the boundaries between wild and tame becoming less distinct as Bourne-Taylor tunes into the rhythms and sounds of the Ghanaian landscape. Along the journey, readers are treated to an impressive study of British and African birds, along with other wildlife. The writer’s beautifully observed meditations on spiders, poisonous snakes, ants and even termites are both informed and engaging and her weaving together of fact with lyrical prose is masterful. Fledgling is a fascinating debut that will undoubtedly fill your soul with joy – and teach you something about the wild and wonderful world of birds. Like H is for Hawk, it will also remind you that no matter where you are in life, nature can always offer hope…and help you to heal. What a truly valuable message to share.