Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

book of a thousand daysLady’s maid Dashti may look meek, but her inner fortitude is far more than that of her fragile Lady Saren. When Lady Saren is condemned to seven years in a locked tower by her father for not marrying evil Lord Khaser, Dashti is the one who rations the food, sings the songs of healing to ease her lady’s anxiety, and chases the rats from their precious stores of food. When Lady Saren’s true love, Lord Tegus, comes calling through the tower’s only opening (a chamber pot dump hole), it is also Dashti who must speak to him, under her shy lady’s orders. After a few such intimate, whispered visits, Dashti is horrified to discover that she is in love with her lady’s man. She writes it all down in her Book of a Thousand Days; her forbidden thoughts of Tegus, her despair that her lady will ever come out of her depression, her fear that they will not survive the tower imprisonment. But survive they do, and before Dashti knows it, they are on to another adventure where she will need to call on the strength of her ancestors to keep them both alive. Finally, they come to the point where Dashti’s precious Book will either save their skins, or condemn Dashti to death. Will Dashti, a lowly mucker girl, be able to claim both her life and the love of a lord? This rarely told Grimm fairy tale, re-imagined by Hale to have taken place on the Mongolian steppes, is a sweeping romantic epic that will steal your heart even as it makes it race with excitement. It’s one of the best fractured fairy tales I’ve ever read, and the fact that Hale sets it in a real time and place makes it even more rich. Follow this one up with Donna Jo Napoli’s historically imagined Pied Piper story, Breath.

7 thoughts on “Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

  1. I was SO excited when I heard about this book! Maid Maleen was my favorite fairy tale when I was a kid!

  2. Just finished it last night. Wonderful! I had always wondered about why the guy didn’t come rescue Maid Maleen. But it never occurred to me to wonder what happened to the maid. And the time in the Tower – perfect! Just how I imagined it.

  3. Attention: Spolier alert!
    I thought that this book was great. It was such a different plot line what with the girl and her maid being locked in a tower for seven years because she refused to marry a villent, scary, and bizzare lord who has an interesting counter life that he showed only her. I loved the maid though. I thought that the girl who was put into the tower was a scared girl who was tramatized but never tried to get past that, while her maid was a strong girl who had songs to cure many illnesses and wasn’t afraid to step up and do the right thing. I loved this book and it’s strong female character.

  4. I read this book and it was love at first read. WE have to do a “dress up as your favourite book character” tomorrow at school, I’m definetly going as Dashti. My best friend is going as Saren.

  5. What a cool idea! It will be fun explaining to people who you are! Good luck with your costume!

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