Blog Tour: Alina: A Song For The Telling by Malve von Hassel: A Book Review

Alina: A Song For the Telling by Malve von Hassell

August 27, 2020
BHC Press
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook
Genre: Young Adult/Historical/Medieval


Synopsis: You should be grateful, my girl. You have no dowry, and I am doing everything I can to get you settled. You are hardly any man's dream."

    Alina's brother, Milos, pulled his face into a perfect copy of Aunt Marci's sour expression, primly pursing his mouth. He had got her querulous tone just right.

    I pinched my lips together, trying not to laugh. But it was true; Aunt Marci had already introduced me to several suitors. So far I had managed to decline their suits politely.

    Maybe Alina's aunt was right. How could she possibly hope to become a musician, a trobairitz, as impoverished as she was and without the status of a good marriage? 

     But fourteen-year-old Alina refuses to accept the oppressing life her strict aunt wants to impose upon her. When the perfect opportunity comes along for her to escape, she and her brother embark on a journey through the Byzantine Empire all the way to Jerusalem.

     Alina soon finds herself embroiled in the political intrigue of noble courts as she fights to realize her dream of becoming a female troubadour.

     My Review: Alina had always dreamed of becoming a woman troubadour. However, that dream always seemed unreachable for Alina. In order for a woman to become a troubadour, Alina had to be from a wealthy household and marry into a good family. Alina did not come from a wealthy household nor did she possess a good dowry. These circumstances prevented Alina from chasing her dream. When her father dies and she is forced to live with her mean aunt and greedy uncle, Alina finds the chance to pursue her dream. She and her brother, Milos, join a group of knights to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During the journey, Alina finds adventure and the courage to become a troubadour.

     Even though Alina narrates the story, it was hard finding her voice. Alina was not a well-developed character and was passive throughout the novel. It was hard to understand her feelings and emotions. Most of the time, she was overshadowed by more fascinating characters in this novel. That was not to say that I did not like her. I found some of her traits to be very admirable. She is very loyal to her brother. She yearns to defy the expectations of women’s roles during her time, and is determined to follow her dream. Thus, while Alina is a passive character, she is still very likable and relatable.

     Overall, the message of this book is to follow your dreams. The novel’s main drawback is that it is mostly told and not shown. This made it hard to be engaged in the story and the characters. However, there were moments of intrigue and a dash of danger that made reading the story enjoyable. Alina: A Song For The Telling is rich with vivid historical details that will transport readers to the Middle Ages. I recommend this novel for fans of Courageous, Crossing to Paradise, and Angeline.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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About the Author


     Malve von Hassell is a writer, researcher, and translator. Born in Italy, she spent part of her childhood in Belgium and Germany before moving to the United States. She lives in Southampton, New York, close to the ocean and a bay beach where she meets flying sea robins and turtles on her morning walks with her rescue dog Loki. She enjoys reading, playing chess with her son, gardening, anything to do with horses, and dreams of someday touring Mongolia on horseback. Her works include the children's picture book, Letters from the Tooth Fairy, written in response to her son's letters to the tooth fairy; The Falconer's Apprentice, her first historical fiction novel for young readers; The Amber Crane, a historical fiction novel set in Germany in the 17th century, and Alina: A Song for the Telling, a coming-of-age story of a young woman from Provence in the 12th century who dreams of being a musician.

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Giveaway

   During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Alina by Malve von Hassell! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter. 

  Alina

Comments

  1. Thank you for your review and for taking the time. I appreciate it.

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