Book Review of Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale

Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale
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Helpful Score: 2

Reviewed by JodiG. for

What would you do if you were torn away from your life and everything you knew and forced into slavery? If you were taken to new places where people spoke different languages than you, how would you persevere?

Meet Melkorka, the oldest daughter of an Irish king. As members of royalty, Melkorka and her brother, Nuada, and sister, Brigid, enjoy life at the top of the social structure. In Dublin, travelers from around the world gather to sell their wares. The "heathen" Vikings are among them. Melkorka wants nothing more for her birthday than to visit the stores in Dublin with her family and find the perfect brooch for her cape. The trip ends tragically when her brother is attacked in one of the shops. Although Nuada has survived, he is disfigured and, therefore, no longer able to be the future king.

Melkorka's father, the king, develops a plan for revenge against the Viking offenders. The plan involves luring a Viking ship to their town. Melkorka and her younger sister, Brigid, are sent away in the dark of night to assure their safety.

Before they can reach their destination, Melkorka and Brigid are abducted and taken aboard a ship bound for an unknown destination. Although her instinct is to announce her royal status and demand to be treated as such, Melkorka succumbs to the hints from Brigid and the word she has heard her mother utter so often, "Hush." She becomes silent, refusing to speak to her abductors, the other prisoners, or even to scream at the horrors she sees inflicted upon others.

While Brigid manages a daring escape, Melkorka remains captive, forming silent bonds with those she is held prisoner with and captivating one of her abductors. Her silence becomes her strength, an unbreakable and enticing gift. But how will a princess adapt to life as a slave? Will she ever escape or will she remain silenced forever?

HUSH is based on an Icelandic folk tale. Donna Jo Napoli has gone to great lengths to create a story for the princess/slave described in the tale. Her writing draws you into the story; you can almost feel the cold air from the deck of the Viking ship. This is an amazing tale of strength and perseverance in the face of insurmountable challenges. A highly recommended reading experience.