Little Wing is the powerful story of two families over three generations.
In the 1960s, a pregnant 16-year-old is banished to one of the remotest parts of the UK. Years later, Nell and Dougie are both at critical moments in their lives when their paths cross. Between Camden, Colchester and the Outer Hebrides, the three story lines collide when secrets are uncovered and answers sought.
Little Wing is a novel about resilience, forgiveness and the true meaning of family, about finding one’s place in the world and discovering how we all belong somewhere and to someone.
I’d never read Freya North before, so I had no idea what to expect. Little Wing is quite slow at times so you need to be patient and immerse yourself in the beauty of the isle of Harris, the delightfulness of our heroine Nell, her friendship with Frank and the amazing staff of the Chaffinch Cafe where she works. Settle in gently and allow yourself to become part of both communities.
Nell was brought up by her mum Wendy, who has suffered with her mental health (maybe bipolar?) all her life, but now has dementia and lives in a nursing home. When Nell goes to visit, her mum sometimes calls her Florence, but she doesn’t know why. When she is lucid, Wendy still calls her Nell.
Throughout the book we have flashbacks to the late 1960s, when a pregnant 16-year-old is banished to the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides to have her baby and protect her family from the shame.
In the meantime, Dougie is at a turning point in his life. He is a professional photographer, but makes a living by taking photos of hardware and tools. It’s boring, but lucrative. Where did he lose the ability to see real life through the lens of his camera? He needs to find out and this means returning to his childhood home in Scotland.
We realise that eventually these three separate strands will come together, but how are they connected? Nell knows nothing about her family or her early childhood and is desperate to find out, while there are so many things Dougie would rather forget. But he needs to face his demons in order to move on. Finally, who is the 16-year-old and how does she fit in?
After a slightly confusing start, I grew to love the main characters, and the minor ones too. It’s definitely going to be one of my favourites this year, 2022.
Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, the author and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.
About the Author
Freya North is the author of many bestselling novels which have been translated into numerous languages. She was born in London but lives in rural Hertfordshire, where she writes from a stable in her back garden. A passionate reader since childhood, Freya was originally inspired by Mary Wesley, Rose Tremain and Barbara Trapido – fiction with strong and original characters. To hear about events, competitions and what she’s writing, join Freya on Facebook, Twitter and her website.