Nominated for the 2021 Pushcart Prize, this coming-of-age novel, set in the 12th century, tells the story of an aspiring singer-songwriter who travels from her home in Provence to Jerusalem where she is embroiled in political intrigue, theft, and murder, and finds her voice.
“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.
Malve von Hassell
The Book Review Directory
Alina: A Song for the Telling
Genre: Historical fiction / Coming-of-age
“The author keeps true to the state of the world during the twelfth century and the
political and religious powers that were at war for control of the Holy Land. Displaying
the religious center during such unrest through a young girl’s perspective is unique and
fresh, which also gives the target audience of young adults a relatable protagonist,
despite the different time and place. Alina lives a very disparate life from a twenty-first
century young woman, but her journey to find who she is stands timeless.” The Book Review Directory
“Alina: A Song for the Telling spins a timeless coming-of-age story. The protagonist is a
strong, female lead who is a good role model for young girls, and she has a unique
voice that crosses space and time. Malve Von Hassell’s novel will resonate deeply with
young adults who are also trying to find their way in the world.” The Book Review Directory