For fans of historical novels, adventure stories and animal tales this book is ideal! It carefully combines all these genres and is the second in the series by talented Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Dr Vanessa Harbour; the first novel is Flight.
Follow orphaned Kizzy and Jakob as they travel from their adopted family in Austria to rescue some beautiful horses from Nazi controlled Hostau towards the end of World War II. Some of the descriptive passages of the landscape and fine horses are truly magical. Mix this with all the ingredients of a captivating adventure involving lots of children and many more horses and it is easy to see how this book will delight readers.
With important themes such as lost/displaced children and disabled young people Safe may follow Flight as an Empathy Lab recommendation.
There are many memorable scenes in the novel, such as the time the children are fending for themselves and Jakob guts a fish they have caught. Anyone keen on outdoor pursuits or a member of Scouts or Guides will be able to relate to this.
The action moves at pace with a clever plot and quite short chapters. It can be read as a standalone title, but I would recommend reading Flight first for setting and background information. The novel is full of interesting characters: the countess, Heinz and even a cowboy! This story soon hooks you in so that you don’t want it to end! Without giving too much away and spoiling the read; the children have seen many war atrocities and are particularly brave. It is interesting to watch a group of young people acting together without adults present. I am looking forward to Vanessa Harbour’s next book with eager anticipation; it is always fantastic to find a new author.