Voyage of the Sparrowhawk

Authored by Natasha Farrant
Published by Faber and Faber

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This is a story, which takes place in the aftermath of World War One, about a girl called Lotti and a boy called Ben. Lotti is running away from her horrible uncle and aunt to avoid being sent to another awful boarding school. Ben, to avoid being sent back to the orphanage, needs to find his older brother Sam, missing in action in France. A friendship is formed when Ben finds Lotti hiding on Sparrowhawk, the barge Ben has lived on with his brother. This is the start of an incredible journey to France on Sparrowhawk, dodging everyone chasing them and with help from the friendships found along the way. There are police chases, a storm when crossing the channel, puppies being born along the way and the hope of finding lost loved ones at the end. No spoilers here from me!

The fact that there are so many stories of different characters within this story that link and overlap beautifully throughout also contribute to make this such a rich, page-turning read. At all times the story surprises and keeps you guessing. There is a rich thread of themes running throughout too. These are friendship, kindness, bravery, determination and working together to make things happen.

I loved this book and found it very hard to put down. It would be a great book to read aloud. It could also prompt questions about WW1 and what it must have been like to lose loved ones, alongside discussing all the themes mentioned above. Natasha Farrant has such a great style of writing for this kind of exciting adventure story and has created such wonderful characters, that I would love to read a follow-up to Voyage of the Sparrowhawk.