#BookReview The Little Snake by A.L.Kennedy

About the book

This is the story of Mary, a young girl born in a beautiful city full of rose gardens and fluttering kites. When she is still very small, Mary meets Lanmo, a shining golden snake, who becomes her very best friend.

The snake visits Mary many times, he sees her city change, become sadder as bombs drop and war creeps in. He sees Mary and her family leave their home, he sees her grow up and he sees her fall in love. But Lanmo knows that the day will come when he can no longer visit Mary, when his destiny will break them apart, and he wonders whether having a friend can possibly be worth the pain of knowing you will lose them.

From one of Britain’s most gifted and celebrated writers, The Little Snake is a magical and deeply moving fable about the journey we all take through life, about love and family, about war and resilience, about how we live in this world, and how we leave it.

Published by Canongate Books

Purchase Links





A random pick from the library – why can’t I resist a black and gold cover?! – and what a charming and touching read it turned out to be!

Only 144 pages long but feels longer as you connect immediately to the character of Mary – a young girl who is a rare soul who sees only good in people and things. She’s happy with her lot it seems, and that’s despite living on the poor side of town and never having much. When in her beloved garden she meets a snake, who becomes a close friend to her and they both learn so much from one another. The snake sees many bad things going on in the world so to find this kind hearted young girl fills him with feelings he rarely experiences and their friendship is both touching and quite profound. It follows their friendship and lives over a number of years and it becomes quite emotional to see how their bond strengthens even after time apart.

This is a dark fable filled with hope and all that I love in fairy stories. It’s aimed at children but is rewarding to readers of all ages as you can see beyond the simple story with many mentions to the modern world we live in – how wealth is idolized, the way chidren are taught things to conform – and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I got from this story.



A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris – my review


I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)

So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.

Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.

Amazon UK


Wow! They say the best things come in small packages, and this little book demonstrates this perfectly! Such a stunning cover too!

This is a wonderfully staged ‘fairytale’ with a twist! It’s a very simple story – girl meets boy, girl falls in love, boy betrays girl, girl gets revenge – but the writing style is so beautiful that it creeps under your skin and holds you spellbound throughout. It is based on the poem ‘The Child Ballads, 925’

The ‘wilding girl’ is one of the travelling folk. They don’t mix with the villagers, they just watch from afar, and she collects coloured things that the villagers drop. One of these things turns out to be a charm left by a girl with the name of ‘William’ left on there. From that moment it seems that the wilding girl is destined to meet William, and her whole world is turned on its’ head.

Before she is happy to live her life through the nature she is surrounded by – one day she is a vixen, the next a hawthorn – but when the emotion of ‘love’ appears in her life she can think of nothing else. And this powerful force that enters her life is soon her downfall as her beloved William betrays her in the worst way, and all she can think of is revenge.

I loved how the story switches from traditional fairytale with its’ beauty and wonder, and then soon draws into the darker side of fairytales and human emotions and how far she is willing to go to free herself of her strong feelings to William and how this impacts the villagers she once kept away from

Such a magical read from the way she transforms into a variety of wildlife and the simplicity of life she leads, to the perspective of first loves and how it consumes you and can make you lose your identity, to the desperation of finding out love is not all it seems. It really takes the reader on a twisted journey and I can’t wait to read it all over again!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced readers copy in return for a fair and honest review.