“I throw back my tumble of black hair, roll one bare shoulder forward, then the other. The stack of bangles on each wrist shimmies and slides as my hands rise like birds in flight. Set during the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War, sixteen-year-old Drina yearns to dance Flamenco. When she dances, she forgets who she is. She forgets what seems to be her legacy: I am nothing. I belong nowhere. Why does her mother forbid her to dance, the very thing that makes her feel alive? She wonders about the secrets her mother holds, about the rumored life she had before Drina was born – a story that somehow still holds them both prisoner. From the wandering Gypsy campagne to the vineyard estate of a paternal grandmother she has never known and the dance halls of Seville where Flamenco reigns, Drina fights to discover who she is and where she belongs. Not quite Gypsy, not quite Spanish, she must carve out an identity all her own and discover what it means to be a bird with the heart of a mountain. Full of mystery, loss and longing, this powerful novel brilliantly captures a young girl’s yearning and her adventurous journey to discover her true home.”
– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18318639-bird-with-the-heart-of-a-mountain?from_search=true)
I’d like to thank NetGalley and Amazon Children’s Publishing for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not familiar with Spain nor with the Spanish culture. I do know that the Spanish Civil War was a huge human tragedy. And I do know that gypsies have a long history of persecution. In this book, set in war-torn Spain, we get a small glimpse of what it was like to be a gypsy, or gitano, during the Spanish Civil War. In Drina’s case, she if half-Spaniard and half-gypsy, she is caught between worlds.
I know that the year is only starting, but this book is a strong contender for one of the best written books of the year. I fell in love with the author’s writing style. I also loved the description of Drina’s dancing. By the end of the book, I was yearning to know more about the gypsies as a people, where do they come from, how they have endured centuries of persecution.
Going back to the story. Drina loses so much at the beginning, but she also gains quite a lot as the story unfolds. I was not entirely satisfied with the ending. Of all the choices Drina could’ve made, she made the one I didn’t want her to make. Let’s just say she took the hardest path. And the ending was the only reasons I didn’t give it 5 stars.
Even though this is an YA book, it is not meant to be read in one sitting. It is meant to be read in a slower pace, so that one can thoroughly enjoy the descriptions and the characters.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5