A tapestry of intrigue, wit, drama and dare that enthralls the reader from start to finish.
Reviewed By Piaras O Cionnaoith for Emerald Book Reviews
We all like to read them at some stage, and many of us are so influenced by a good story that we adopt life changes to match. True stories and biographies are obviously the most inspirational, but there are also fictional stories that can be just as inspiring. And for me THE BLACK FOX OF BECKHAM is such a story.
Fox hunting is a traditional and royal hunting sport, popularized all over the world by the British. Hunting dogs or foxhounds are trained to chase and attack foxes from their hiding places, and these are followed by hunters on the horses.
The nature of fox hunting has strong associations with tradition and social class, and its practice for sport has made it a source of great controversy. There are those who have a moral objection to hunting and who are fundamentally opposed to the idea of people gaining pleasure from what they regard as the causing of unnecessary suffering.
BLACK FOX OF BECKHAM is an emotional, spiritual and poignant tale with intriguing twists and turns that will easily captivate the reader’s attention from the beginning. The author paints a dramatic and riveting tale of the fox hunt in a very vivid and convincing way. In addition, the characters are drawn with great credibility and conviction. It’s a fast-paced novel that will keep you engaged from the first page to the last. It’s a story of ‘winning at any cost, superstition, prejudice and being different and the magic of friendship.’
The story had every element a good story should have. An intriguing plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. There’s an abundance of well-illustrated scenes that make you feel like you are right there in the story, and that’s something I really look for in a good book. It’s one of those stories that come along once in a while that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader!
This is a tapestry of intrigue, wit, drama and dare that enthralls the reader from start to finish. A highly recommended read and a well deserved five stars from me.
-Reviewed by Caitlin Gemmell, Caitlin Gemmell Reviews
This was a fast-paced, charming book with just a hint of magic.
“The Black Fox of Beckham” was enchanting. It is a contemporary YA book set in the English countryside sometime before the ban on fox hunting came into effect. The main characters are each a bit different: an autistic teenage girl (Fi), a Gypsy woman (Silviana), and a black fox (Arabella).
When Arabella loses her parents, she narrowly escapes death too. A mysterious badger rescues her, prompting her to set out on a quest to end the cruel “sport” of fox hunting. As she journeys across the countryside, she is seen by a hunting party. This sighting provides them with the perfect plan for generating interest in this controversial sport. A storytelling contest is just one idea for getting support from the villagers of Beckham.
As Arabella continues her travels, she befriends a recently widowed Gypsy woman who has the power to communicate with her. Soon Fi stumbles upon Silviana’s camp and is uncharacteristically comfortable around Silviana and Arabella. Fi’s father used to be Master of Hounds, and her entire family embraces the tradition of hunting foxes. Fi was even looking forward to participating in the fox hunt for the first time, but now that she knows Arabella she has a change of heart. Now it is up to these three outcasts to end this cruel sport for good.
This was a fast-paced, charming book with just a hint of magic. The setting was fantastic, the friendship between the characters heartwarming, and the story about an important issue. I kept wishing that this was the first book in a series.
“Heaney’s contemplative novel centers on a cast of endearingly self-aware anthropomorphic animals who face significant questions about life’s meaning. Niles, an elderly Yorkshire terrier, leads a carefree life with his human owners (“Mama” and “MAN”)—until he meets fruit rat (not a “common trash rat”) Nathaniel, who has witnessed something troubling: a family burying a cat in the ground. Knowing nothing of death, Niles and Nathaniel are educated on the matter by a knowledgeable possum named Leach. The animals embark on a journey to the sea, along the way encountering animals that impart powerful lessons about living mindfully and making peace with death. Throughout the story, Niles is visited by the spirit of a deceased cat, Deheune, who hints at a greater purpose in life—or perhaps beyond it: “Stay true to your quest now, but these words ne’er dismiss./ The life you were meant for is/ Not this, not this.” Heaney offers wisdom, poetry, and humor in his narrative. His distinctive animal characters—pictured in Tatu’s expressive watercolors—will resonate with middle grade readers. Ages 9–12.”
Plot: Heaney demonstrates a strong grasp on storytelling for children in a tender tale that explores weighty issues of life, death, and the meaning of existence, as animal characters question how they can best fulfill their individual purposes.
Prose: Heaney’s eloquent writing expertly blends anthropomorphic details into descriptions and dialogue, causing readers to alternately forget and distinctly remember that the leading cast of this novel is comprised of furry and feathered friends.
Originality: Heaney’s middle grade novel is a unique contemporary story that pays tribute to classic works of children’s literature through its poignant and sophisticated approach to dealing with questions about death, purpose, and grief.
Character Development: Heaney’s characters are quirky, sympathetic, and wise. With humor and grace, the author gently advocates for building meaningful relationships with our creature companions, our human companions, and the natural world around us.
Emerald Book Reviews: By Piaras on 30 May 2018. “A YORKIE’S TALE is one of those books that come along occasionally that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader.
If this book is anything to go by, I’ll certainly be looking forward to reading more from David L Heaney in the future. It’s a book that’s very difficult to categorize so I would recommend it to all readers who just like a good story! All ages, I think, will enjoy this one. It also has a distinctly cinematic feel to it and I could easily see it being adapted to the Silver Screen. A well-deserved five stars from me.”
The Rev. C. Blayney Colmore — David Heaney has written a fascinating stealth book. From the gorgeous illustrations and the appealing Yorkie of the title, you might assume you were about to read a beguiling children’s story. And you would be right (assuming the child has strong, direct parents who are willing to explore reality with their child). As you get deeper into the book you begin to…
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Book Review by Haley Belinda — A Yorkies Tale is a 145-page book by David L Heaney. What I would say is this is an excellent story for older children. I am an older adult, well, let’s say middle-aged! He! He! And I loved it!
Review from Stephen’s Church — It’s an adventure; it’s a parable; it’s a fairytale for all ages.
Author Interview with Into Another World — Today I welcome author David L. Heaney to my blog. His debut novel, A Yorkie’s Tale: Lessons from a Life Well-Lived, came out in October 2017.
Book Review with Hasty’s Book List — That first line, an aging Yorkie, had me on edge throughout the book. But alas, it wasn’t a sad story. It was full of morals that you’d expect in a kid’s book (although I believe adults could enjoy this short tale, as well.) Niles, the Yorkie, learns about friendship, loyalty, generosity, kindness, joy, contentment, and finding our inner spirit. It was a cute story with lots of good life lessons.
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