Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Song of the Sparrow - Lisa Ann Sandell


A day or so after my daughter rifled through my bookshelves, she came back to me and shoved this book in my face and said "Mom! You HAVE to read this book! It is poem-y but it is really good!". In fact, this is one of the signed books I've had on hand for awhile, and is going to be donated to my Adult Literacy League auction. My daughter assured me she read it in a day, and it was quick reading. I had no idea what it was about, but I figured if she loved the book, it had to have some romance in it.

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Elaine has only lived in a world of men, having lost her mother at a young age. She has literally grown up in the (future) King Arthur's army, acting as a healer to not only her father and brother, but all the soldiers. She is perched on the brink of womanhood, secretly harboring a love for Lancelot, who she has been friends with since she was a child.

That is until the lovely Gwynivere arrives. Although Gwynivere is engaged to Arthur, she has stolen Lancelot's heart. Thus ensues a little love triangle that devastates Elaine. But when the soldiers go to war, Elaine and Gwynivere are forced together in a dangerous situation and must fight to survive. The girls' passion and strength and wit are tested, and at the same time they find true friendship in each other. Elaine also grows to understand that true love was right under her nose, in the most unlikely place.

My thoughts: What I didn't say in the synopsis, and something that is a critical element of the book's success, is that the prose in this story is written in verse. This adds a gentle, ethereal quality to the words, and it sung to me. I'd never read anything quite like it. I know, I don't get out much.

There is also something magical about the legend of King Arthur, Lancelot, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin, Tristan and the gang. I'm not an expert on all that business, but from this newbie's viewpoint Sandell made it all come to life. The characters were human and real, the emotions complex, all under the umbrella of a sweet, uplifting coming-of-age tale. A tale that is safe for a young tween or teen aged girl (it really isn't something a boy would read), but entertaining for her mom as well. This was just a beautiful, beautiful book.

4.5 out of 5 stars


20 comments:

Beth F said...

I'm a sucker for all things King Arthur, so I guess I'd better add this to my list.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Very cool about your daughter insisting you read it! I love the hair - why can't I have hair like that? Of course, if I had greenery in my hair, I'd probably be too busy sneezing to look beautiful...

Zibilee said...

I love books that I can share with my daughter, and this one sounds like it's just what I have been looking for! I was a little nervous when I heard that it was written in verse, but you say "it sang to you" and that is good enough for me! I am adding this one to the list after reading your fantastic review. I will have to let you know what I think of it!

ds said...

Love, love the Arthurian legend! And anything presented with "Mom! You HAVE to read this book!" is a must-read. I sense a future reviewer in the making :)

Jeane said...

I went through a spate of reading tons of King Arthur books several years ago. I remember Elaine as a minor character- it would be interesting to read a book telling mainly her story.

Amy said...

This bokk sounds beautiful in prose & story. I really love that your daughter insisted you read it. She's got great taste in books, just like her mom. How cool that you two share a love of books & reading.

Anna said...

I'm not really in to King Arthur, but this actually sounds good. I love getting recommendations from my daughter. Seems like yours has pretty good taste in books!

The Bumbles said...

I wish your daughter would provide us with her written review. But I suppose that would feel too much like homework eh? Very cool that she is excited by books - she sounds just like her mom!

heidenkind said...

OMG, looooooove stories about Lancelot! Rawr!

farmlanebooks said...

I don't think I've ever read an entire book written in verse, but this one sounds lovely. It is fantastic that your daughter recommended it :-)

bermudaonion said...

I love that your hormone riddle daughter thrust this in your hands. I'm not sure it's for me, but I'd be willing to give it a try.

Julie P. said...

Don't you just love it when your kids get that excited about a book?

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

Sounds like a really interesting book..I have never read anything like this. Thanks for the recommendation.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

Despite having read a really good novel in verse, I am hesitant, but I would love to read a good King Arthur book. Torn!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Sounds like a beautiful read - will check it out!

Iliana said...

I love your daughter's enthusiasm! That's just so cool that you got to share with her a book she loved. Sounds like a really sweet story and how neat that it's written in verse. Have you read Crank by Ellen Hopkins? It's YA but very different from this book but it's also written like a poem. Very neat.

Jenners said...

Hey, if it got your daughter excited, that is all I needed to know!! And I love her description as "poemy." I've always loved the whole Arthur/Guinvere stuff. Too bad I don't have a girl to read this with!

Meg said...

I've never heard of this one but it does sound wonderful! I've never read a book written entirely in verse -- well, except for Shakespeare -- so that would be very interesting.

Alice Teh said...

Now I must find this book...

Kathleen said...

Sounds magical and it is even more wonderful because your daughter recommended it to YOU!