Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein | Audiobook Review

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein | Audiobook ReviewBlack Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Narrator: Lauren Saunders, Maanuv Thiara
Length: 10 Hours 52 Minutes
Published by Disney Electronic Content on March 31st 2015
Genres: Fiction, War & Military, Young Adult, Historical, General, Social Themes, Friendship, Action & Adventure
Pages: 368
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Emilia and Teo's lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo's mother died immediately, but Em's survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother's wishes—in a place where he won't be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat. Seeking a home where her children won't be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall...or their salvation? In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.

Why Did I Listen To Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein?

I will read anything that Elizabeth Wein writes. Granted, I still need to read her Lion Hunters series, but I like to think that I’ve got plenty of time to read. Black Dove, White Raven popped up on my Netgalley radar and so with a whole lot of trepidation I clicked to request it, as well as a slew of other books. I got lucky and was approved. However, I have not gotten around to reading the book until now because I am the kind of person who never takes advantage of an awesome approval. Maybe things work out for a reason. The audiobook of Black Dove, White Raven was incredible. It is worth listening to over physically reading.

What’s The Story Here?

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein is about two people – Emilia and Teo – who were raised together. The mothers of the pair may as well be soul mates. They are a team of stunt pilots. Emilia’s mother is white. Teo’s mother is black. One day, while performing a stunt, a tragedy strikes. Teo’s mother dies. Em’s mother, Rhoda, raises Teo as her own alongside Em. Unfortunately, it is the 1930s in America, so Teo walks a much harder road than Em.

And so, following the dreams of Teo’s mother, Rhoda uproots the family to Ethiopia where they all become enamored with the landscape. Ethiopia is a place that has never been colonized, at least during the time period of the book. However, war is about to break out. Mussolini is rising to power in Italy. Italy has its eyes on Ethiopia. Also? There’s a secret about Teo that his mother did not know. Only his father, now deceased, knew. It is about to affect all of their lives and things will certainly come to a head.

How Are The Characters?

Teo and Emilia are the main characters of Black Dove, White Raven. Both Emilia and Teo are into aviation because that is what their parents did. Both also have these life defining characteristics and experiences. I thought the way that Teo responded and adjusted to his mom’s death was interesting and well written. I also thought that the way Emilia responded was interesting too — given that her mom got very depressed. Yet, Teo was able to get through to Rhoda, Emilia’s mom.

I loved how this book portrayed the characters reacting to a very bad situation that was out of their control. I think politics and warfare are not the sort of thing that the average person can control at all. So, to see these two thrust into that situation is one of those I cannot look away things. ALSO! Both Emilia and Teo have a very unconventional education which is not exactly a formal education. This provides an additional level of fascination for me.

What’s The Setting Like?

Elizabeth Wein’s Black Dove, White Raven takes place basically in 1935. Parts of the book are set in the United States in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is where Emilia’s Quaker grandparents live and where they go to stay after Teo’s mom dies. Parts of the book are set in France, when both Emilia’s parents and Teo’s parents meet. In addition, parts of the book are set in Ethiopia in 1935 as Mussolini begins his invasion.

Wein paints a beautiful picture of Ethiopia. One that I would never have imagined. I will admit that my only real exposure to or understanding of Ethiopia is from South Park with the character Starvin Marvin. This is an awful thing to admit. We did not even learn about Mussolini’s invasion. Anyways, based on the book, Ethiopia seems like a beautiful place with delicious food and a rich history. I would like to learn more about the country for sure.

How Did I Like Black Dove, White Raven?

I truly loved Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein. I felt that this book was so beautifully written. The glimpse into Ethiopia’s political complications and complexities was superb. Further, the characters are the sort that I rooted for throughout the whole book. There were a few moments where I gasped in surprise as well as some big reveals. I did find that Black Dove, White Raven was not nearly as heartbreaking as Code Name Verity. I liked that I came away with my heart intact and a hopeful feeling.

How’s The Narration?

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein has dual narrators. The audiobook is narrated by Lauren Saunders and Maanuv Thiara. It is produced by Bolinda Audio. I borrowed from the library and listened to the CD version as opposed to MP3 or app, so I could not speed up narration as I do now. The audiobook was very well narrated. I was quite absorbed in the story and the landscape as I was driving. Get your hands on the audiobook if you are struggling to get through this book but desperately want to read it because you love all that Wein does. The audiobook was the perfect form for this story to be told.

Sum It Up With A GIF:

The audiobook of Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein was incredible. It is worth listening to over physically reading. Find out why here.

This GIF is accurate in regards to Teo’s situation and why they uproot to Ethiopia. Also why Rhoda wanted to go to Ethiopia.

Other reviews of Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein:

Fuelled By Fiction – “a wonderful historical young adult novel

Thirst For Fiction – “another success

Shae Has Left The Room – “this book does not fail to deliver

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Peek Inside Black Dove, White Raven:

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I’ve only ever read one novel from Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity) and I liked it! I’m definitely curious about Black Dove, White Raven, which sounds so complex and so interesting. Plus, having Ethiopia as one of the settings makes it even more epic in my book. Glad you enjoyed it!