‘Could you teach me something now?’ he asked. ‘Tell me …how did you know that you wished to join the circus?’

She looked up and met his eyes. ‘Can you think of anything more magnificent?’ she said. She sighed, her eyes glazing. ‘We only get one life,’ she told him. ‘Why shouldn’t it be magnificent?’

The Calling of Jackdaw Hollow by Kate Gordon is the third story of the Direleafe Hall books. Each book is a standalone story that takes place in the storyworld of Direleafe Hall.

When Jackdaw was a babe, his parents were killed by a lightening bolt on a stormy night. Jackdaw is taken in by the headmistress of Direleafe Hall and raised lovingly as her son. But something is missing from his life. Direleafe Hall is a school of girls and gentle Jackdaw feels out of kilter. He aches for a calling and a friend.

The writing in The Calling of Jackdaw Hollow is gentle and lyrical and full of wisdom. I particularly enjoyed the fable-like quality to this story and the tie-in to The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn – the first of the Direleafe Hall books. The Calling of Jackdaw Hollow is an enchanting, sensitively-told tale. This is the perfect book for middle-grade readers looking for soft fantasy.

Publisher’s blurb:

When Jackdaw Hollow is orphaned by a lightning strike, he is taken in by the headmistress of Direleafe Hall. Even though he grows up with her love and care, he feels undeserving, as if the universe made a mistake in sparing him. As he searches for the reason he survived the storm, he befriends Angeline, a wildling girl who knows where her destiny lies – the circus. But when he goes too far in trying to find his own calling, he loses sight of what’s most important.

The Calling of Jackdaw Hollow is a spirited tale of destiny, self-worth and accepting that if you love something, you must set it free.

Buy direct from UQP

Many thanks to UQP for this copy to review.

About Kate Gordon

Kate Gordon grew up in a very bookish house, in a small town by the sea in Tasmania. After studying performing arts and realising she was a terrible actor, Kate decided to become a librarian. She never stopped writing and, in 2009, she applied for and won a Varuna fellowship, which led to all sorts of lovely writer things happening. Kate’s first book, Three Things About Daisy Blue, was published in 2010. Her most recent publications are the middle-grade novels The Heartsong of Wonder QuinnThe Ballad of Melodie Rose, and Aster’s Good, Right Things, which won the CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers.