Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

Melkora is not your average teenage girl. She's a princess of medieval Ireland. Fleeing from Vikings, Melkora's life changes drastically. Disguises as peasants, she and her sister Brigid are kidnapped by slavers. On the slave ship, Melkora finds she doesn't have anything left but her silence. Her self imposed muteness give her some power. She isn't as abused as the others. Can Melkora survive enslavement? Will she ever find her way back home?

What I Thought: I'm a huge fan of Napoli's fairy tale retellings. With Hush, she's done something completely, utterly different. She hasn't used a traditional, well known fairy tale, but the mere mention of a woman in a folk saga. As much as I like fairy tale retellings, I'm glad Napoli used a new (to me & I'm sure others) tale, This book was riveting. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. I was completely engrosses in the story, anxious to know Melkora's fate. I've always appreciated that Napoli's retellings don't gloss over the harsher elements in the original tales. Melkora could never be a Disney Princess. Her story is not one of happily ever after, but resignation and making the best of a situation. And I loved it. I only hope that fans of the Disney Princesses will grow up to appreciate stories like Melkora's.

(Atheneum, 2007)

No comments: