Book of a Thousand Days

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):

“When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because of Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.

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:

Giving Back
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!” 

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12 thoughts on “Book of a Thousand Days

  1. Nymeth

    Reading her website and blog also made me realize what a kind and generous person she is (in addition to extremely talented, of course!)

    It’s wonderful when authors are like that 🙂

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  2. Bookfool

    The Heifer Foundation is the organization I chose to donate to in relatives’ names, when they decided they were sick of exchanging gifts. We didn’t get around to it, this year, thanks to our hectic Christmas season, but thank you for the reminder. I almost bought a copy of Book of a Thousand Days, last week, but decided to wait on it. I’ll definitely add it to my wish list.

    I have to throw in a comment about your previous post. Owl Moon is an old favorite, around this house. My children asked me to read it over and over and over, again. The illustrations are beautiful.

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  3. Rhinoa

    I really enjoyed The Goose Girl and am looking forward to reading more of her work in the future. A few people are reading this either now or soon and I am eagerly awaiting the paperback edition to come out.

    Love the picture at the top of the post. It looks like Arthur Rackham.

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  4. Robin

    Nymeth, I really enjoyed her website. I haven’t read her blog, so I’ll have to check it out!

    Bookfool, my family did the same thing a few years ago, so this was a good reminder for me, too. We can plan ahead for the holidays this year.
    I love Owl Moon! Did you know that the father in Owl Moon was based on her husband? Sadly, she lost him to cancer in 2006.

    Rhinoa, that IS Rackham’s version of Maid Maleen! I love his work!

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  5. Tara

    I’ve known about Shannon Hales’ books but have never taken the plunge. This one sounds interesting. I agree that Heifer Intl is a wonderful organization. We’ve donated gifts within our family as well as participating in church programs.

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  6. Stephanie

    I just finished The Goose Girl and really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading the next one in the series, Enna Burning.

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  7. Alison Boon

    Thank you for the link to her website. I have to admit to not knowing about her before stumbling on this and other blogs, but that will soon be remedied.

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  8. Robin

    Tara, her books are very enjoyable. I haven’t read the two books that follow The Goose Girl, but I’m looking forward to them.

    Stephanie, I still need to read Enna Burning and River Secrets. I’ve read good reviews about both of them.

    Alison Boon, you have a lot to look forward to! Enjoy!

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  9. jenclair

    I really enjoyed Book of a Thousand Days and look forward to the Goose Girl series! Hale is an excellent author for young people; I’m so glad I finally got around to reading her.

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