Nature, red in tooth and claw

Cuckoo Call by Betty Salthouse

Family loyalties, teenage angst, sibling rivalry, murder, attempted suicide. These are powerful, important subjects. Betty Salthouse’s third book Cuckoo Call pulls all the subjects in a story that could easily be about human relationships as it is about a family of blackbirds living with a quite literal cuckoo in the nest.

For anyone who watches BBC’s Springwatch we know how perilous the early days of a family of birds can be. Who doesn’t know what happens when a Cuckoo lays her egg in blackbird nest. When the young family of blackbirds and our hero, Brains, are introduced it is with love and affection, but we know that this can only end one way. From the outset we wonder how this story will play out. Betty Salthouse skillfully crafts an honest tale of what happens in nature that can teach us all a lesson.

Cuckoo Call beautifully written, at times brutal, but heartwarming story. A true classic tale in the making.