Imagine having to live in your own home under the strict and totalitarian rules of her aunt and uncle. Telling Alina and her brother, Milo that they were lucky to even have a home sets the tone for the reasons why they had to figure out how to escape. This is a novel about some real people in history and some that are fictional. Alina is bright and wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a trobairitz or a female troubadour. But, losing her father and learning how he poor at holding on to his financials and that when he died they were poor, leaves Alina and her brother at the mercy co Uncle Garsanc and his wife. They were tough and Alina and Milos had no choice but to adhere to their rules. Alina lives in their home or mansion in medieval Provencal France. She and her brother had a carefree life until the loss of her father and his reputation was more than disgraced. They think he killed himself and her mother and Maia practiced which craft. He wandered away one night, and it looked like eh killed himself.
Because she and her brother were not yet adults but minors their aunt and uncle came from their estate to put the farm in order and they both had to adhere to their rules. Milo could not run the and Alina had to do the chores that belonged to her aunt. At 14 she was expected to marry a match of someone a lot older.
Uncle Garsac claimed that Milo was inept to run the farm and did nothing to teach him anything. When it was suggested that they go on a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem to pray for their father and do something special in his memory, they were granted permission and their uncle and aunt were glad to be rid of them.
They joined with many wagon trains and met Templar Knights, camp followers and even girls of poor reputations. She worked hard and she had to learn who to trust. But Alina would not grow up but they both learned the differences in people and the injustices you might have to endure. The journey to Constantinople was long and hard and they even encountered trouble with robbers, and some got hurt and others taken and killed. All Alina wanted was to emulate her father and honor his memory.
The scenes are graphically depicted representing the times, the settings and actions of the characters. Some are violent and others filled with blood and gore, her brother at times finds himself in trouble with friends he makes and bad choices at times. The author brings tin the crusades and the research she shares with readers helps us to understand the times and the historical period. Alina becomes friends with a couple that is Jewish and from this point on she has allies or surrogate parents that help her thought the hard times.
. Within the 12th century the author brings to light the differences in people. How they regarded others of different economic backgrounds and we get to her Alina throughout the journey as she tells the story in her own words. Imagine arriving in Jerusalem and taking in the sights and seeing the noble courts.
Alina learns about diverse cultures, religions, customs, about the Muslim people and who deserves respect and who did not get it.
Sometimes things do not turn out the way you would expect them to and challenges along the way as Alina does not give up and must save her brother from himself at times. Malve Von Hassell created a timeless novel that young adults and teens can learn from as they take the journey with one fourteen-year-old girl named Alina. She is smart, tenacious and loyal to Milo to a fault. Even with his special job he manages to faulter and fail at times causing Alina great stress. The messages in this book teach young readers never to give up on yourself and your dreams. Alina realizes as she meets many people on her journey that women were not thought of as individuals but as the property of the men they were married to and had to adhere to their rules and their wants. The author relates social issues, the issues of morality and dealing with the different travelers yet making friends with some in odd careers. You must admire Alina for her strength and fortitude and endurance in difficult places and situations. Just closing her eyes and remembering the dour and sour expressions of her Aunt Marci is enough to keep her focused and never going back.
A story told from the point of view of a young teen who has much more growing up to do before she settles down. Where does she wind up at the end? Does she remain in place or is she assisted by the Jewish couple to bring her to a different kind of security and safety.
This is a must read and it will encourage young teens to go after their goals and understand that to get where you want to go you need to work for it and create your own goals.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews