Gina's Reviews > Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale

Hush by Donna Jo Napoli
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's review
Mar 11, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, young-adult
Read from March 11 to 13, 2011

I strayed away from my favorite genre last month, but like a magnet I was pulled to the past yet again, and was amazed by the piece of spellbinding work I read. HUSH by Donna Jo Napoli is a memorizing retelling of an Irish princess' silent existence as a captive aboard a Scandinavian ship.

On what should be a... pleasant trip to Dublin, Princess Melkorka – Mel for short, quickly becomes aware of the dangers that savage Vikings inflict. In desperation and fear for her safety, Mel's parents instruct her and younger sister, Brigid, to flee in disguise. Barely a day into their escape, the girls are kidnapped and taken prisoner aboard a slave ship, where Mel finds strength in saying nothing at all.

Within minutes of reading you are thrown into the early 900s, a time period I'll admit I've read little about. Napoli pays close attention to detail, and I was literally lost in her words. (ask my family. as I was parked on the couch the whole weekend.) Mel finds solace and power in her vow of silence. The clarity in her decisions and actions as a character is refreshing to read in a Young Adult book. Secure in tranquility, Mel becomes a fascination for the crew of brutal sailors and she is empowered to stand up for those around her. Though there are many cruel injustices that Mel experiences and observes, a sort of peace comes over you on her journey. You are compelled to read every touching passage of the terrifying adventure...

I think we all know my love for historical fiction if you didn't, you do now. But HUSH is much more than a romanticized novel set back in time, actually it's far from it. The depth and realism of this novel was gripping. I think adults could appreciate this book even more that the teenage audience it was initially intended. Enchanting and thought provoking for all the right reasons, HUSH is story-telling a its finest. Easily 5 stars.
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Reading Progress

03/12/2011 page 87
27.0% "Getting lost in the year 900 as of... now. :)"
03/13/2011 page 202
63.0% "I'm now in Russia... I always knew books with maps are the best."
03/13/2011 page 244
76.0% "This book is just so compelling... and I don't know why... maybe that's why it is."

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