Emily Cassady's Reviews > Song of the Sparrow

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
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Oct 30, 07

Recommended for: YA readers, those interested in Arthur and the Knights
Read in August, 2007

This prose-style novel ends with the disclaimer that the author has completely used artistic license based on semi-fact. I love that the author spun a fanciful and romantic tale and ended it with responsible tone and further research notes.
Sandell, before beginning her tale, includes the poem by Tennyson entitled “The Lady of Shalott”. This poem sets the tone for the main character who Sandell speculates, is actually the true Lady.
She then spins her tale of Arthur and the Round Table. Of Gwynivere, Lancelot, Tristan (of Tristan and Isolde fame), Merlin, and Elaine (The Lady of Shalott). In it she includes intrigues of all types. Her prose style excellently frames up words that call for pause and digestion. It is masterful.
The story’s main character is Elaine. Elaine lost her mother early on in the ongoing war over Briton. Since she was a little girl she has followed her father and brothers around from encampment to encampment, living among the men, serving as a healer, mender, etc… Elaine interacts with each of the afore mentioned characters and
Elaine is getting older. Lancelot notices Elaine and she quite easily falls for him, or at least acquires a crush. Lancelot leads her on a bit, gives her hope, but then has to ride out on a mission for Arthur, the new king.
The mission is to bring back Arthur’s new betrothed queen, Gwynivere, and along the way, as legend goes, Lancelot falls irrevocably in love with Gwynivere.
Once back at camp, Elaine feels betrayed at Lancelot’s change of heart. To top it off Gwynivere has a far superior attitude and while Elaine and Gwyn should have shared a sister bond at this camp filled with all men, they now have a rivalry.
When Elaine slips off to follow Arthur’s camp to war, Gwyn follows. And when Elaine falls into enemy clutches, it is up to Gwyn to save her. The two girls must hatch an elaborate plan to save the men that they love and, in turn, form an irrevocable bond.
With several sub-plots present and the whimsical language of chivalry, this novel is a great romantic read that will entertain students who like Arthurian lore.
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