A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris

a pocketful of crowsIn a time when superstition ruled the way people behaved, a brown-skinned, black-eyed, girl falls in love with the beautiful son of the local laird.

She is not the type of girl people fall in love with, not the type the local folk trust.  She is not like them, she is a traveller. She moves on the wind, with the animals, lives with nature.  She is completely free, or at least she is until she falls in love.

Then she becomes bound, changing her name, her ways, her future.  She trusts in the love she feels and, already in love with her myself, I prayed that that love wouldn’t be betrayed.

The course of true love never runs smooth though and this story is no exception.  The question is whether there will be a happy ending or if it will all end in tears? 

I won’t tell you which way it goes (spoilers!) but I will say that – if you are like me – you will be hooked from the first page and desperate to know how it all ends.  You will love the brown-skinned girl, hate the way she is treated, and feel completely lost in a world that is so alien to us nowadays.

You will learn about the seasons, how they change, how they affect the world around them, and how those who live in that world respond to it (it’s no wonder they are so superstitious).  They dominate this book, with the story being broken up into months and local proverbs or songs starting each one, to give you a flavour of what you can expect.

Nature is a character in an of itself and I really enjoyed this aspect of it.  It felt very different from so much that I normally read and, tied as it was to the superstitions and the supernatural, it felt perfect for this witching season.

The language used to describe what is happening is beautiful and lyrical and fits perfectly.  It took a few chapters to get into the flow but then I was away.  I almost felt like I was singing as I read, the way the words flowed.  I only wish I had a hard copy so I could see the illustrations that come with it.

And then it was over – it’s not a long book – and I felt like I hadn’t gotten enough.  I could quite easily have read on for another 100 pages or more – so much so I went on to spend a pleasant hour reading the child ballads (one of which this story is based on). I really didn’t want to leave the world Harris created and, weeks after finishing this book, I feel like I am still there a little.  I really can’t recommend it enough.  Loved it.


About the book…

I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)

So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.

Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.


Emma x

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: ebook
Published: 19th October, 2017 (yes today!)
Pages: 240
Find on:  Goodreads / Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own


  1. I was so looking forward to your review of this book! oh it does sound magical and perfect for this time of the year and Nature is a character! wohooo


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