Makenzie Vaughn's Reviews > Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale

Hush by Donna Jo Napoli
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's review
Apr 21, 2012

really liked it
Recommended for: EVERYONE

Hush an Irish Princess’ Tale
*Spoiler Alert*
Hush an Irish Princess’ Tale is a historical fiction book written by Donna Jo Napoli. This book is published by Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division and has 308 pages. Hush an Irish Princess’ Tale is about a 15 year old princess who has been abducted and taken upon a slave ship. The main character, Melkorka, is forced to abandon her life of riches and being handed everything she wants, to a life where she has to learn how to tend to her masters but survive at the same time.
In the beginning of the book Princess Melkorka is portrayed as being a selfish teenager who doesn’t show any empathy for her slaves. One slave, Brogan, said, “Before you father bought me, when I was still a boy, I was owned by a man who had a wicked temper,” (Napoli 16). At this time Melkorka didn’t care at all about Brogan or his miserable past as a slave. This can also relate to people now. I think Donna Jo Napoli wrote this book to teach a lesson that you can know somebody for a long time, but if you don’t listen and you become narcissistic, you don’t know their whole story, and you don’t really know them at all.
In Hush an Irish Princess’ Tale, the beginning of the story was a little slow when delivering the plot. However, Donna Jo Napoli had an amazing way of keeping her readers guessing. In just the first 14 pages the main character’s brother, Nuada, has his hand cut off by a young Norseman. Although most beginnings of books seem to go in so much detail that the reader’s mind floats elsewhere, in this book Donna Jo Napoli puts detail in the interesting parts instead. For example, “One scream. Then Nothing. That’s worse than a continual cry. I don’t know where to look. I run frantically from doorways, calling,” (Napoli 11) is the thoughts of Melkorka. Even though the plot didn’t begin until awhile in, this book kept me interested the entire time because of the creative writing technique Donna Jo Napoli made in Hush an Irish Princess’ Tale.
Unlike today, when there are motivators all around you saying that it is important to use your voice, Melkorka must be able to get her point across as a slave without speaking a single word. As seen in the writing of Donna Jo Napoli and from history years ago, slave owners do not care at all about their slaves. However Melkorka’s friend- who is also a slave, Maeve, says that, “A slave life counts for nothing unless the slave finds a trick. You’ve found yours. Stick to it. Hush,” (Napoli 135). Maeve tells her this because by not speaking, Melkorka’s owner is intrigued by her, and treats her a little more kindly then the rest of the slaves- like the defenseless woman who got beaten. Therefore, to save her own life, Melkorka must do as she is told, when she is told to do it. She must forget about her sister, Brigid, who jumped over board during their third night, forget about her parents, the King and Queen, forget about her brother who may or may not have lived through his amputation, and do it all without speaking a word.
I think a lot of people should learn how to stay optimistic even in the most pessimistic times. As Melkorka is on her new owner’s ship, and a horrible storm had just passed a few days ago- limiting their supplies- yet she still manages to put a smile on her face. “I stand up and face the wind blowing off the good land,” (Napoli 308), said Melkorka. Hush an Irish Princess’ Tale was a truly astonishing book that everyone, at least once in their lifetime, should sit down and read. It helps you realize that life should be enjoyed no matter how bad things might be.


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