A black fox, a Roma gypsy widow, and a fourteen-year-old girl on the autism spectrum discover and befriend one another in the village of Beckham where fox hunting has been a way of life for centuries. The three improbable friends learn that being different doesn’t leave you powerless as they prepare to challenge a sport they believe is senseless and cruel. TTHE BLACK FOX OF BECKHAM is a tale for young adult readers about reckless superstitions fueled by prejudice, a desire to win at any cost and how the bonds of friendship forged by this marginalized trio (together with a little magic) empower them to take a stand that puts them at odds with family and community.
Plot:This book’s storyline picks up the pace about four chapters in, when Silviana meets the mysterious Benton. The plot takes on unexpected, but positive, twists with Angus implying that Silvania may be evil and a badger being mistaken for the famed black fox.
Prose/Style:Changes in point of view within the same paragraph can be a bit confusing for readers to follow, and the style would benefit from more “showing rather than telling.”
Originality:The story is an informative and entertaining introduction to the world of fox hunting and the Roma culture, and it also brings some awareness to the topic of autism.
Character Development:Silviana is the most developed character here, while the other humans would benefit from delving into their origin stories or motives. The references to Fiona being on the spectrum bring awareness to autism, but because of the range of traits, someone familiar with her condition may not find the descriptions wholly realistic. Of the animals, Benton is the most interesting, as it’s apparent that he has the power to alter his form and transform into animal or human shapes.
Date Submitted: April 03, 2019
“The Black Fox of Beckham” was enchanting. It is a contemporary YA book set in the English countryside sometime before the ban on fox hunting came into effect. The main characters are each a bit different: an autistic teenage girl (Fi), a Gypsy woman (Silviana), and a black fox (Arabella).
When Arabella loses her parents, she narrowly escapes death too. A mysterious badger rescues her, prompting her to set out on a quest to end the cruel “sport” of fox hunting. As she journeys across the countryside, she is seen by a hunting party. This sighting provides them with the perfect plan for generating interest in this controversial sport. A storytelling contest is just one idea for getting support from the villagers of Beckham.
As Arabella continues her travels, she befriends a recently widowed Gypsy woman who has the power to communicate with her. Soon Fi stumbles upon Silviana’s camp and is uncharacteristically comfortable around Silviana and Arabella. Fi’s father used to be Master of Hounds, and her entire family embraces the tradition of hunting foxes. Fi was even looking forward to participating in the fox hunt for the first time, but now that she knows Arabella she has a change of heart. Now it is up to these three outcasts to end this cruel sport for good.
This was a fast-paced, charming book with just a hint of magic. The setting was fantastic, the friendship between the characters heartwarming, and the story about an important issue. I kept wishing that this was the first book in a series.
We all like to read them at some stage, and many of us are so influenced by a good story that we adopt life changes to match. True stories and biographies are obviously the most inspirational, but there are also fictional stories that can be just as inspiring. And for me THE BLACK FOX OF BECKHAM is such a story.
Fox hunting is a traditional and royal hunting sport, popularized all over the world by the British. Hunting dogs or foxhounds are trained to chase and attack foxes from their hiding places, and these are followed by hunters on the horses.
The nature of fox hunting has strong associations with tradition and social class, and its practice for sport has made it a source of great controversy. There are those who have a moral objection to hunting and who are fundamentally opposed to the idea of people gaining pleasure from what they regard as the causing of unnecessary suffering.
BLACK FOX OF BECKHAM is an emotional, spiritual and poignant tale with intriguing twists and turns that will easily captivate the reader’s attention from the beginning. The author paints a dramatic and riveting tale of the fox hunt in a very vivid and convincing way. In addition, the characters are drawn with great credibility and conviction. It’s a fast-paced novel that will keep you engaged from the first page to the last. It’s a story of ‘winning at any cost, superstition, prejudice and being different and the magic of friendship.’
The story had every element a good story should have. An intriguing plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. There’s an abundance of well-illustrated scenes that make you feel like you are right there in the story, and that’s something I really look for in a good book. It’s one of those stories that come along once in a while that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader!
This is a tapestry of intrigue, wit, drama and dare that enthralls the reader from start to finish. A highly recommended read and a well deserved five stars from me.