Shannon Hale’s Book of a Thousand Days is based on “Maid Maleen,” a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm. I don’t remember hearing Maid Maleen as I was growing up, so this was a completely new fairy tale for me. I enjoyed this book, although not quite as much as The Goose Girl. But it had a very strong female lead character, Dashti, the maid, and it was full of adventure and romance. How can you not enjoy that?
Here’s a synopsis of the story (from Shannon Hale’s web site):
As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. With the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors — one welcome, the other decidedly less so — the girls are confronted with both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.”
I spent some time reading the section of Shannon Hale’s web site devoted to this book. Click here to read her fun stories about writing it. One of those stories, in particular, shows the caring nature and generous spirit of this author:
In researching and writing this story, I was impressed by the life-saving difference one animal can make in a family’s survival. We’ve been able to donate some of the proceeds of this book to The Heifer Foundation, an organization that gives important domestic animals to families in third world countries. Check out The Heifer Foundation , where you can purchase a goat or water buffalo or basket of chicks, or even just part of one (I’m pretty sure a part donation goes toward a whole, rather than just one let of a water buffalo shows up on someone’s doorstep). Donating in someone else’s name can make a wonderful gift, and how cool to be able to tell someone, “This holiday, you gave a herd of geese to a family in need!”