Jack’s life consisted of new schools, in new towns, with the same old problems. The pattern continued until he saw Ana deep in the woods. Through Ana, Jack developed a keen interest in learning who he was and where he came from, his ancestors. “The best way to learn about your ancestors is to put yourself in the same environment they were in. It isn’t enough to know what they did. If you really want to know them, you need to learn about what shaped them into who they were.” Those were Ana’s words. Her death left Jack with the realization that he knew little of this amazing woman who was his adopted mother. The first step of Jack’s quest takes him to the last place she visited before his adoption, the island of Haiti. New friends, unexpected events, and the island itself give Jack a greater understanding of Ana and ultimately himself. Come with Jack as he begins his Journey.
Trail of the Raven, Haiti
by Chip Davis
Trail of the Raven #1
August 4, 2014
Occasionally, I’ll pick up a book that’s outside the realm of books I tend to read. Sometimes, I’ll pick up said book because the author is interesting, or perhaps funny. This is one of those books. I noticed the author’s posts on the IABB Facebook page, and then I noticed other posters noticing and acknowledging his posts. So, I followed him, and he offered, in a quirky manner, review copies of his book, Trail of the Raven: Haiti. Expecting and hoping for witty, humorous, and irreverent, I found, instead, thoughtful, poignant and insightful. In short, I was surprised.
What I love most about this book is the coming of age story and the beautiful bond between Jack and his adoptive mother, Ana. Tension builds as Jack’s caretakers, his Aunt’s family, take every opportunity to break him down and keep him and Ana apart. The reasons behind it are despicable and, as such, pulled me in deeply. I had to find out how it would work out. Plus, Ana is fascinating. And all this really happens before the real story begins.
This is supposed to be the first in a series of books following Jack’s epic journey to follow in Ana’s footsteps to not only learn more about her, but also about his family’s history, starting in Haiti. So back to the funeral, and then on to the journey. It’s almost like two complete stories in one book: growing up and finding a new mother who cares for him and then losing her and trying to hold on to her memory by following her trail.
In the spirit of fairness, I must admit that Ana is almost surreal in her benevolence. She’s like the epitome of humble philanthropy, especially when the untold story of her life before Jack begins to filter through the pages. It’s almost too much. Just the level of what she did for folks, how much money she dropped, the magnitude of the assistance she provided, the impact.
Overall, I must say I really liked this book. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was lovely and heartwarming and at times heartbreaking. I highly recommend it.
I received this book from the author in return for an honest, non-reciprocal review.
ABOUT CHIP DAVIS
Chip discovered a passion for travel as a boy when his family moved from Arkansas to Kenya for two years as missionaries. He continued moving regularly as an adult, working construction jobs across several states, until having two school-aged sons dictated that he settle down. Fast forward through 15 years of structural design, the boys are grown and it is time to travel once again.
Chip’s dream is to become like Jack, the main character in his books. He will be traveling, learning new cultures and places, and looking for ways to help people along the way. This, in turn, will fuel the books to come.