McCombie informs gently, without it feeling like double history on a Friday, and I loved her mixed-up cast and Little Bird’s courageous conversation. I see that a sequel, Little Bird Lands, is out this year. I’ll be winging my way to read it.
McCombie is a supremely digestible writer, who unravels a dense plot in 20 brisk chapters, with some lyrical descriptions of the landscape, plenty of domestic nitty-gritty, and a smattering of Highland history thrown in. It may all seem a far cry from the "slushy, gushy love songs" of Ally's World. And yet here, as there, McCombie displays her gift, which is to create a narrator who sounds thoroughly convincing, and to inhabit the consciousness of a child.
This involving, evocative tale, narrated by Bridie with a hint of period language, is a study of rich and poor, offering clearly drawn characters, including a benevolent laird, a charming young artist, Bridie’s dear friend Will, and a clutch of cruel and greedy members of the gentry. We always know where our sympathies lie, and events unfold suspensefully to a satisfying if open-ended resolution.