'Those in search of a more unusual thriller should try Song Beneath the Tides ... a rich and gripping novel that explores the lasting impact of colonialism, the horrors of animal poaching and the effects of tourism on local communities in East Africa. Past and present stories collide as Ally experiences glimpses into the past. Her visions are deeply rooted in the legends and stories of Kisiri, a sacred island at risk from poachers and threatened by tourist development. Told in parallel timelines, this novel is a unique and fresh story for YA readers. It presents challenging themes in an accessible, engaging and thought-provoking way and at its heart it is a story about hope and the importance of working together.'
'THE SCOTSMAN, Hannah Sycamore
'This is a story that's rich with history, folklore and mysticism. As a reader you are swept away by the evocative language. ... a stunning and sophisticated combination of romance and mystery and is sure to be devoured by teenagers and adults alike.'
5* Clare Wilkins in READINGZONE
FULL REVIEW: 'Ally is on the holiday of a lifetime with her brothers in Africa. With her Aunt distracted by her workload as a doctor, Ally and her brothers can run free along the wild and stunning coastline. They quickly make friends with some local children and soon find themselves drawn in by the local folklore and customs and the modern world that clashes with them. Ally, in particular, is drawn to local boy, Leli, and an intense bond develops between them.
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Fearing for the future of Kisiri, a local island swathed in legend and revered by locals, Ally and Leli set out on a dangerous mission to protect the island and its heritage. However, Ally's status as a foreigner and outsider hinder her attempts to help and, as the locals become increasingly alarmed by a new tourist development, matters rush to a terrifying conclusion. This is a story that's rich with history, folklore and mysticism. As a reader you are swept away by the evocative language and the brutal descriptions of threats to an established and sacred way of life. Ally and Leli's story alternates with a historical narrative of Portuguese invaders and the comparisons between the stories and links to local legends are cleverly entwined. ... a stunning and sophisticated combination of romance and mystery and is sure to be devoured by teenagers and adults alike.
Nominated for the Carnegie Medal
Southern Schools Book Award, UK
Sakura Award, Japan
1 Club Award, South Africa
Leicester Book of the Year
Wirral Paperback of the Year
Lancashire Book of the Year
Highland Children’s Book Awards
‘Rift is that delightful thing, a book which holds you from the first page.’
MARCUS SEDGWICK, GUARDIAN
‘… a fragmented enigma, the story of a school trip gone mysteriously wrong, with not only several students but also a journalist gone missing in a wild, rocky region. … Stylised, sophisticated and richly atmospheric …’
‘A tightly written, highly entertaining novel. …Vibrant and haunting, Rift will hold readers’ attention well after they’ve finished reading the last page.’
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… ‘‘The blurb states ‘This mystery thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.’ It did! … the reader becomes hooked into the story and the investigation. I couldn’t put it down.’
‘a great, tense, vivid investigation novel with extraordinary characters in a beautiful, remote setting – a powerful, compelling read.’
‘I also much enjoyed Rift by Beverley Birch, with Africa lovingly painted, a mystery, and a cast of sympathetic characters - especially the wonderful Inspector Murothi.’
Candy Gourlay, TIMES ONLINE
‘a suspenseful mystery … Birch does a fine job of describing the mysticism of this fictional locale where human life began …
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, US
'Few time-shift stories are as well conceived and realised as THE KEEPER OF THE GATE. Beverley Birch excels at suggesting the many levels at which things go on in a family, and children's ability to keep several preoccupations, inner and outer, serious and trivial, active at the same time.'
TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT
'an enjoyable, strongly written book with enough meat on the bones to provoke thought.'
THE SUNDAY TIMES
'... a substantial book with a strong atmosphere ... and two eager children walking calmly into dangerous experiences to bring the story close to young readers.'
... complex shuttles of time convincing and fascinating to read ... a sensitive book which conveys not only the physical feeling of Africa but also the emotionally strong life of the people ... a gift for brief telling descriptions of the passing moment ... ‘
'... an interesting and unusual book with many themes and layers cleverly interwoven ... thought provoking and readable and will raise many questions ...
'... Remarkable in technique and psychological insight. ... exciting and disturbing. An absorbing book and a wise one. Teenage readers will respect its integrity.'
THE JUNIOR BOOKSHELF
'Both a taut thriller and the story of a teenage girl’s growing awareness of the predicament in which she finds herself. She feels inadequate in coping with a dangerous situation, and the final terrifying climax leaves her with many questions, but also a new-found determination.
BOOKS FOR STUDENTS
‘... keeps the reader puzzling over what is to come. The author portrays the characters well and it was easy to feel their emotions. I enjoyed this book immensely.’
WATERSTONES IN BRIEF
DOWN THE ROAD TO JAMIE'S HOUSE
'carefully woven with descriptive use of language and fresh, cheerful illustrations. A lovely story.'
EARLY YEARS EDUCATOR
'An example of the happy marriage that occurs when authors and illustrators are perfectly matched'
SUZI, SAM, GEORGE AND ALICE
'Lots of funny things going on and a smart, bouncy text.'
BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
THE VILLAGE IN THE FOREST BY THE SEA
'The story’s language is wonderful, mythical, mystical ... a little one will enjoy the resonances, rhythms and rhymes.'
'A gentle atmospheric tale with warm glowing paintings'.